The Rational View podcast with Dr. Al Scott

By Al Scott

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Subscribers: 317
Reviews: 8

Lance Atienza
 Oct 20, 2021
The Podcast is very informative and fun to listen, you get to hear very interesting science while getting experts insights as well.

Jason Hunt
 Oct 20, 2021
Always a great and informative podcast. All around fun and insightful. Fantastic show Al.

Martin Jane
 Oct 20, 2021
Well balanced evidence based podcast

Danno
 Oct 20, 2021
I've been listening to this podcast since the beginning. He just great thoughtful interesting guests. Important. If you care about the world in the future. Doctor Scott's podcast is one to listen to

Sarah Kerns
 Oct 20, 2021
An entertaining and well-balanced look at some of the more divisive topics we're facing.

Description

Physicist Dr. Al Scott addresses politically and socially divisive issues with insightful evidence-based analysis of the facts. Learn to apply the tools of science to discover the most rational path to an optimistic vision of the future. https://www.therationalview.ca

Episode Date
Online convenience vs. customer service
29:25

Over the past couple weeks the COVID virus has gone through my household, and I’ve been too busy to put together a well researched podcast. But I wanted to share a story with you that I think some of you might be able to relate to. It is a story about where all of our time has gone. In the modern era we’ve traded customer service for convenience.  This is my saga.

We think that we're saving time by online shopping, but sometimes that turns out to be the opposite of the truth. Join me while I take you through my personal saga in which I discovered that in the modern era we may have mistakenly traded good customer service for "convenience."

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#TheRationalView #podcast #convenience #customerservice #online #rant

Oct 01, 2022
Lutz Jaitner proposes a scientific basis for Cold Fusion
01:00:11

In this episode I am continuing my investigation into cold fusion, looking into potential scientific explanations of the excess heat and fusion products hinted at by Dr. Edmund Storms in my last podcast.

There seems to be a dedicated research group that is working on these theories and I am eager to find out whether or not their hypothesis about condensed plasmoids can stand up to skepticism.

Lutz Jaitner from Hamburg Germany is the father of three adult daughters. He holds a Master of Science degree in physics from the University of Hamburg.

Lutz started his career as a designer and developer of multiprocessor hardware. After which he worked as a consulting engineer. Lutz is the programmer and operator of a public cloud service for neighborly help groups: Obelio eLETS Service

Around 2006 Lutz started to evaluate the available literature about LENR research. By 2015 he found an explanation, how the reaction is facilitated by an ultra-dense plasmoid state of matter. It took him until 2019 to work out a quantum-mechanical model of this state, to program a simulation tool for it, perform the simulation runs and document this theory on this web site.

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#TheRationalView #podcast #coldfusion #LENR #condensedplasmoids #science #skepticism

Sep 24, 2022
A review of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (Cold Fusion) with Dr. Edmund Storms
01:01:56

In this episode I start my investigation into the Cold Fusion controversy. In 1989 Pons & Fleischmann announced in a hastily convened press conference, the discovery of a new clean energy source that would revolutionize power grids and save humanity from climate change. They had measured the production of excess heat and neutrons in a room temperature electrolytic reaction using heavy water and a palladium cathode.  It shortly became evident that their claims were not entirely correct. After many attempts it was discovered that their experiment could not be replicated and mainstream science dismissed Cold Fusion as a pathological science. Despite this lack of acceptance, many have continued to try to replicate their work and strike it rich. Now after more than 30 years, a pattern of unexplained anomalous results has emerged from the rubble.  Is there something to the newly renamed Low Energy Nuclear Reactions field?  I’m interviewing an expert who has been involved in reviewing the work in this field since the very beginning.

Edmund Storms obtained a Ph.D. in radiochemistry from Washington University (St. Louis) and is retired from the Los Alamos National Laboratory after thirty-four years of service. His work involved basic research in the field of high temperature chemistry as applied to materials used in nuclear power and propulsion reactors. He presently lives in Santa Fe where he is investigating the "cold fusion" effect in his own laboratory. An authority in the field he has published 2 books, over 100 papers and four complete scientific reviews of the field over the years. In May 1993, he was invited to testify before a congressional committee about the "cold fusion" effect. In 1998, Wired magazine honored him as one of the 25 people in the US who is making a significant contribution to new ideas. He was awarded the Preparata Medal by the International Society of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science and honored as Distinguished Scientist by University of Missouri. His large collection of literature about LENR was used to create the website www.LENR.org where information about the phenomenon is available. His recent work has focused on understanding LENR and making the effect reproducible.

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#TheRationalView #podcast #coldfusion #LENR #science #electrolysis #palladium #nuclear #nuclearpower

Sep 17, 2022
Is Cold Fusion pathological science?
32:49

In this episode I’m reviewing the fine line between science, pathological science, and pseudo-science. In most cases the line is not fine at all.  There are, of course, many pseudo-scientific practices that are clearly not based on the principles of honest scientific investigations including things like Creationism, Homeopathy, Astrology, and Flat-Earthism.  Some of these pretend to be scientific, but it is pretty clear in all cases that they exist not because of evidence, but instead are based on faith, profit, or other motives. There are several beliefs or ideas, however, that are not so clear-cut, and actually have some non-biased scientific support, although they are verboten for members of the scientific community.  I have looked at electromagnetic hypersensitivity, for example, in a past episode. I came away unconvinced that EM is causing the health problems of sufferers, but there is something unexplained going on. In this episode I want to explore the scientific community’s response to a couple different radical ideas and ask if it was rational, and what the evidence tells us.

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#TheRationalView #podcast #pathologicalscience #coldfusion #lenr #EMdrive

Sep 10, 2022
Laser Fusion Ignition with Drs. Hurricane and Zylstra
46:56

In this episode I’m starting to explore another interesting scientific topic that has recently made a big media splash—nuclear fusion.  For decades the promise of nuclear fusion has been held out as the ultimate in clean energy sources—the same energy as the sun, with no transuranic radioactive waste stream.  Just fusing hydrogen together to make helium and boundless energy.  The problem is that it is very difficult to simulate the sun.  Even in the core of the sun where temperatures are measured in millions of degrees, and the pressure is higher than anywhere in the solar system, fusion is not a fast or efficient process.  I guess that’s good for us.  If it were the sun would rapidly burn out in a huge supernova.  As it is, the sun will happily burn hydrogen for about 10 billion years before it starts running short. A proton in the core of the sun can bounce around freely for billions of years without ever getting fused to another proton.  It is this challenge that researchers on earth have been trying to solve for the past 50 years, without much success. Today I’m going to be interviewing a team of researchers working on this problem to find out just how close we are to practical fusion.

Omar Hurricane is a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. Omar received a Ph.D. in Physics from UCLA in 1994, staying on as post-doc until 1998. Omar is a Designer at LLNL, working on topics of stockpile stewardship and High Energy Density Physics, and became Chief Scientist for the Inertial Confinement Fusion Program. In 2009, Omar was awarded the U.S. Department of Energy Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award for National Security and Nonproliferation. Omar became a Fellow of the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics in 2016 and in 2021 was awarded the Edward Teller award and medal from the American Nuclear Society for leading efforts to obtain fuel gain, alpha heating, and a burning plasma in the laboratory.

Dr. Alex Zylstra received his bachelor’s degree from Pomona College in 2009 and his Ph.D. in plasma physics from MIT in 2015. From there he joined the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a Reines Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow working on developing novel inertial fusion concepts. He joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2018 as the experimental lead for the “Hybrid E” campaign, which subsequently produced the first laboratory burning and ignited plasmas.

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#TheRationalView #podcast #fusion #ignition #laserfusion 

Sep 03, 2022
Dr. Larry Katz on why we are too competitive
50:09

I’ve recently begun to suspect that we, as a society, favour competition over cooperation to our detriment.  As children we are trained to compete. We play competitive board games like Sorry, and Monopoly where you win by sabotaging the other players. We fetishize competitive sports, spending 100’s of billions of dollars watching athletes violently punish each other. It would seem that these attitudes carry over into the political arena.  States and religions and corporations all compete for power, leaving a trail of bloody conflict in their wake. And yet it can be argued that competition brings out the best in people. The dominant capitalist economic system is based on the concept of a group of self-interested players who collectively and competitively comprise the market where the success of the top players advances by exploiting those less successful. Some of our most significant scientific and engineering advances came as a result of intense development work motivated by man’s most deadly competitive endeavour, war.  Radar, jet planes, Nuclear technology, and the Apollo program to go to the moon were essentially the result of this competition between nations.  But cooperation also has its value. The Space Station was a cold war cooperation between the US and Soviet Union. The Megatonnes to Megawatts program that used soviet nuclear warheads to power US nuclear reactors was a successful cooperation. The EU is a huge cooperative governance model. Universal Healthcare is a cooperative program to share the burdens of treating the sick. I want to ask the question: can we envision a world where negative competition becomes socially unacceptable? One in which we compete without sabotaging others, or perhaps even one where nations cooperate? Should we work to bring this about?

An award-winning developer and producer of interactive multimedia applications, Dr. Larry Katz is Professor Emeritus, Adjunct Professor, Head of the innovative pedagogy and Sport Performance program, and Director of the Sports Technology Research Laboratory, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary. An Educational Psychologist, he is interested in how people learn and how they can improve their performance using innovation and technology. His research interests include, performance analysis, educational technology, data analytics, virtual environments, multimedia design, collaborative online learning, pedagogy, and health and wellness education. A former competitive athlete, coach, coaching instructor, referee, and volunteer leader, Dr. Katz has first-hand experience with intense competition and the impact of competing when cooperation is mutually beneficial.

For over 20 years, he worked on and recently patented his trademarked Move Improve ® mobile platform for peer-to-peer, self-directed, and consensus learning.

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#TheRationalView #podcast #competition #cooperation 

Aug 27, 2022
Dr. Marc Wortman discusses Admiral Rickover of the nuclear navy
01:04:43

In this episode I’m exploring the story of the father of atomic power, Admiral Hyman Rickover.  This was based on a suggestion from a listener. Thanks Loki! Rickover is best known for his role in developing the US nuclear submarine program in the 1950’s.  His ground-breaking work demonstrates that Small Modular Reactors are a safe and effective method of generating clean carbon-free energy.  Today I will be interviewing an author who has recently published a biography of Rickover.

Marc Wortman received a doctorate in Comparative Literature from Princeton University. Dr. Wortman is an independent historian and freelance journalist living in New Haven. He is the author of four book on American military and social history, most recently Admiral Hyman Rickover: Engineer of Power (Yale University Press, 2022). As an award-winning freelance journalist, Marc has written for many publications, including Vanity Fair, Smithsonian, Time, Air & Space, and The Daily Beast. He has spoken to audiences around the country and has appeared on CNN, NPR, C-SPAN BookTV, History Channel, and other broadcast outlets. He has taught at Princeton, Quinnipiac Universities and a college program at a maximum security prison. He was the recipient of a New York Public Library Research Fellowship and was the 2014 Jalonick Memorial Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Texas Dallas.

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#TheRationalView #podcast #nuclearpower #SMR #atomicpower #greenenergy #nuclearnavy

Aug 20, 2022
Andy Vasily with deep thoughts on life and podcasting
01:15:01

This is a fun joint podcast with co-host Andy Vasily of the successful ‘Run your life’ podcast.  Andy is a friend from way back. We went to public school together. Andy helped me set up my podcast a couple years ago and get started with a few helpful hints. His Run Your Life podcast is focused on physical fitness and self realization.

In this episode we reminisce a bit and share the wisdom we have gathered over the forty or so years since our last meeting. We chat about how we both ended up in podcasting, and how we each are on a quest to find meaning in our lives. Andy's podcast can be found at www.runyourlifepodcast.com

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#TheRationalView #podcast #podcasting #selfrealization #pechakucha

Aug 13, 2022
Dr. Ellen deLara discusses bullying
48:00

In this episode I book-end my two episode investigation on the impacts of bullying with someone who has interviewed victims of bullying to attempt to characterize the impacts.  I recently did a podcast that reviewed my experiences with bullying as a child and how it seemed to have impacted my personality and my life. From a high level, Dr. deLara’s results resonated with me. It felt good to identify an external reason for why I found it hard to interact with others.  But let’s be careful and question our assumptions. Life is difficult and challenging for everyone. Can victims blame their entire life experience on bullying? No. We need to be careful about confirmation bias. It is difficult to guess how life altering these events really were.  Perhaps I would have turned out shy and socially awkward anyways.  Any good science includes a control group to contrast. Let’s find out what the evidence says.

Dr. Ellen Walser deLara is an associate professor emerita in the School of Social Work at Syracuse University. She is also a practicing family therapist. Dr. deLara received her doctorate from Cornell University in educational psychology and was a post-doctoral fellow at Cornell focused on child maltreatment.

Her areas of research address adolescent development, child maltreatment, school and community violence, and bullying from systemic and developmental perspectives. Currently, Dr. deLara is investigating the long-term consequences of childhood bullying on adult relationships and mental health. She has presented widely at national and international conferences and speaks frequently to the media on bullying and school violence.

Dr. deLara’s books include: Bullying Scars: The impact on adult life and relationships (Oxford University Press), And Words Can Hurt Forever: How to protect adolescents from bullying, harassment, and emotional violence (Simon & Schuster) and School-based Intervention Programs (Houghton-Mifflin) co-authored with Dr. James Garbarino.

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Aug 06, 2022
Escaping my bully
14:03

In this episode I want to share something personal about my life. This episode is about bullying and its lifelong effects. My bully made me who I am today. I hope if you are experiencing bullying that you take the time to listen.

I learned a lot in school, and most of it in the schoolyard. I learned to run fast, and dodge. I learned that there is no justice in the world. I learned the world is a harsh place and the good guys lose. I learned to be self sufficient. I learned to escape into fantasy.

My life was shaped by a series of bullies.  I’m only now learning to stick up for myself. To value myself. To not run from conflict when it is necessary. To speak up for my rights. Do I have regrets?  Sure. Today I like who I’ve become and I wouldn’t change a thing now that I have worked through the pain.

Do we need adversity to make good strong people willing to stand up and take a risk for others? 

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#therationalview #podcast #bullying #mentalhealth #adversity #personalgrowth 

Jul 30, 2022
What I’ve learned about the hard problem of consciousness
31:52

In this episode I summarize my investigation of consciousness. I’ve been interviewing several experts and there is a huge diversity of thought on the topic of thought. It is called ‘the hard problem of consciousness’ to explain why we have a subjective experience of existence.

What have I learned? The problem is hard because people don’t agree on an objective set of criteria about what consciousness entails.  If there is no clear definition, it is no surprise it is hard to explain.  Philosophers fall back on the word ‘Qualia’ meaning those set of 1st person experiences which evade any objective definition.

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#TheRationalView #podcast #consciousness #sentience #thought

Jul 23, 2022
Angelica Oung says the world needs more CANDU reactors
48:12

In this episode I am interviewing a fellow supporter of nuclear energy who, although not a Canadian, she posted an article on Canada Day singing the praises of the CANDU reactor.  I think CANDU is an underappreciated technological wonder, similar to the Avro Arrow.  It is also at risk of going down that same path unless Canadians rise up and tell their MPs and MPPs that we need more of them.

Angelica Oung is a journalist specializing in Asia and energy matters living in Taipei, Taiwan. In her spare time she is a nuclear energy enthusiast and advocate known as the Manic Nuclear Scheme Girl on her substack https://elementalenergy.substack.com/

 

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#TheRationalView #podcast #nuclearenergy #atomicenergy #savePickering #CANDU #cleanenergy #greenenergy

Jul 16, 2022
Dr. Bernardo Kastrup on the Universal Mind
01:09:34

In this episode I return to my investigation of the physical and philosophical bases of consciousness. Today I will be taking on a new perspective from a leading expert in both philosophy and artificial intelligence.

Bernardo Kastrup is the executive director of Essentia Foundation. His work has been leading the modern renaissance of metaphysical idealism, the notion that reality is essentially mental. He has a Ph.D. in philosophy and another Ph.D. in computer engineering specializing in artificial intelligence. As a scientist, Bernardo has worked for the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the Philips Research Laboratories.

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#TheRationalView #Podcast #mind #panpsychism #consciousness #idealism #solipsism #metaphysics

Jul 09, 2022
Dr. Gerfried Jungmeier discusses electric vehicles
43:08

In this episode I am returning to one of my favourite topics—the clean energy transition.  Today I wanted to explore the life cycle greenhouse gas footprint of the shift to electric vehicles.  Many governments are using a transition to electrified transportation as the foundation of their GHG emissions reduction programs.  Today I’m going to an expert to find out how effective this transition will be on our society’s GHG emissions profile.

Dr. Gerfried Jungmeier holds a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering and received a PhD studying the Greenhouse Gas Balance of Bioenergy Systems. He is an future energy systems researcher at Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft mbH. He lectures at Vienna University of Technology, Danube University Krems, and University of Applied Science Kapfenberg. He is an expert in the life cycle assessment of energy and mobility systems.

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#therationalview #podcast #electricvehicles #energytransition #netzero

Jul 02, 2022
Communicating science through fiction with Eric Choi
40:08

On my episode today I will be exploring a fun topic—science fiction, with a friend an colleague who is also an up and coming science fiction author. We will discuss themes of communicating science and our shared love of science fiction.

Eric Choi is a writer, editor, and aerospace engineer in Toronto. He has twice won the Prix Aurora Award – Canada’s national prize for excellence in science fiction and fantasy – for his short story “Crimson Sky” and for the anthology The Dragon and the Stars, and he was the first recipient of the Isaac Asimov Award (now the Dell Magazines Award) for his novelette “Dedication”. His short fiction has appeared in more than two dozen publications in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Hungary, and Japan. He holds a B.A.Sc in engineering science and an M.A.Sc in aerospace engineering, both from the University of Toronto, and an MBA from York University. In 2009, he was one of the Top 40 finalists (out of 5,351 applicants) in the Canadian Space Agency’s astronaut recruitment campaign.

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#TheRationalView #podcast #science #sciencefiction #communication

Jun 25, 2022
Dr. Scott Aaronson on sentience, AI and quantum computing
01:01:06

In this episode I am continuing my investigation into the so-called hard problem of consciousness. I’ve spoken to several people who believe that consciousness arose in single celled organisms and is somehow integrated at higher levels through electrical synchronization or intercellular molecular transport into a unified experience. Hindus and Buddhists believe that there is a Universal consciousness of which we all partake. This is similar in some ways to Sir Roger Penrose’ theory of consciousness called Orchestrated Objective Reduction, where microtubule organelles in the brain’s neurons have evolved to concentrate the diffuse universal consciousness present in the collapse of quantum superpositions. Some of these folks believe that the randomness at the heart of quantum mechanics is necessary for free will and volition. Others like Bertrand Russel believe that we act in accordance with our will even if our actions have past causes and the future is pre-determined. Today I’m honoured to be interviewing an expert who pushes the limits of human knowledge in terms of our understanding of the implications of quantum computing in regards to artificial intelligence.

Scott Aaronson is David J. Bruton Centennial Professor of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin, and previously at MIT.  He received his bachelor's from Cornell University and his PhD from UC Berkeley. Aaronson's research in theoretical computer science has focused mainly on the capabilities and limits of quantum computers.  His first book, Quantum Computing Since Democritus, was published in 2013 by Cambridge University Press.  He's received the National Science Foundation’s Alan T. Waterman Award, the United States PECASE Award, the Tomassoni-Chisesi Prize in Physics, and the ACM Prize in Computing, and is a Fellow of the ACM.

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#TheRationalView #podcast #consciousness #sentience #artificialintelligence #quantum computing

Jun 18, 2022
Dr. Michael Levin on cellular cooperation and cognition
01:09:46

In this episode I continue my exploration into the nature of consciousness and awareness.  I’ve learned a lot in my exploration to date. I’ve learned about Hindu and Buddhist ideas on awareness, and I’ve delved into the underlying quantum mechanical nature of reality. I’ve discussed ideas of quantum computing and biological links to the mysteries of quantum mechanics. My guest today is an expert on the cellular basis of memory and cognition.

Michael Levin received dual B.S. degrees (computer science and biology), followed by a Ph.D. (Harvard University). After post-doc training (Harvard Medical School), he started his independent lab at Forsyth Institute focusing on the biophysics of cell:cell communication during embryogenesis, regeneration, and cancer. In 2009 he moved his group to Tufts, where they use biophysical and computational approaches to study decision-making and basal cognition in cells, tissues, and synthetic living machines. Levin holds the Vannevar Bush chair, and directs the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts, working to crack the morphogenetic code for applications in regenerative medicine, bioengineering, and artificial intelligence.  Recent work includes the modulation of native bioelectric circuits to control embryogenesis, regeneration, and cancer, and the creation of novel synthetic living proto-organisms.

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#therationalview #podcast #cognition #memory #science #consciousness #emergence #cells

Jun 11, 2022
A Buddhist perspective on awareness with Dr. John Dunne
01:01:21

In this episode I continue my exploration of consciousness, exploring a field of enquiry that has focused almost exclusively on consciousness and awareness for hundreds of years.  Although it is not science, Buddhism has a uniquely close relation with physics and physicists being oft quoted. 'The Tao of Physics' comes to mind, as well as ‘The Dancing Wu Li Masters’ as examples.  I hope you enjoy this foray into the Buddhist mind.

Dr. John Dunne serves on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he holds the Distinguished Chair in Contemplative Humanities at the Center for Healthy Minds.  He is also distinguished professor in the Department of Asian Languages & Cultures, where he currently serves as department Chair.

Dr. Dunne's work focuses on Buddhist philosophy and contemplative practice, especially in dialog with Cognitive Science and Psychology. His publications appear in venues ranging across both the Humanities and the Sciences, and they include works on Buddhist philosophy, contemplative practices and their empirical examination and interpretation within scientific contexts.

John Dunne speaks in both academic and public contexts, and he occasionally teaches for Buddhist communities, including the Gomde centers of Denmark and Austria and Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe. In addition to serving as core faculty for the Center for Healthy Minds, he is a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, where he has previously served on the Board of Directors, and he is an academic advisor to the Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Kathmandu, Nepal.

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#TheRationalView #podcast #buddhism #consciousness #awareness 

Jun 04, 2022
Lemmel and Hofmann experiment with reality
01:01:51

Quantum Mechanics is a strange theory. Richard Feynman said “I think it is safe to say nobody understands quantum mechanics”. So why is it so popular if nobody understands it? How is this the basis for all of our physical knowledge of particles and their interactions?

A recent innovative experiment fires neutrons through a double slit and proves that each neutron goes through both slits at the same time.

Prof. Holger Hofmann, studied physics in his hometown of Stuttgart, Germany, then went to Tokyo University for a post-doctoral fellowship in 1999. Now at Hiroshima University, his research is focused on the way quantum theory describes observable phenomena. He believes that the key to a proper understanding of quantum mechanics can be found by exploring the practical means that we need to employ to achieve optimal control over a physical system.

Dr. Hartmut Lemmel studied physics in his hometown Vienna and graduated at the Vienna University of Technology in the group of Helmut Rauch who is the "father" of neutron interferometry. After his PhD in 2007 he stayed in the group and was posted to the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble as instrument responsible for the neutron interferometry setup.

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#TheRationalView #podcast #quantummechanics #doubleslit #reality #pilotwave #manyworlds

May 28, 2022
Shorting the Grid with Meredith Angwin
53:29

In this episode I am lucky to be able to talk to an expert in the lifeblood of modern civilization, our electrical grid. The grid is the pulse that sustains civilization. It provides us with the energy to run our labour-saving appliances, it provides us with lights, it empowers our computers, it heats our homes, it refrigerates our food. Without it we would be tossed back to 19th century living conditions.  It powers all of modern technology and allows us to communicate around the globe. The grid is also a curse. It is an industrial behemoth that emits dangerous pollution into the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels kills millions of people around the world every year from particulate pollution, and is one of the leading sources of greenhouse gas accumulation that is forcing the climate into a state it hasn’t been in since homo sapiens evolved half a million years ago. My guest will tell us about the hidden fragility of our electrical grid.

As a working chemist, Meredith Angwin headed projects that lowered pollution and increased reliability on the electric grid. Her work included pollution control for nitrogen oxides in gas-fired combustion turbines, and corrosion control in geothermal and nuclear systems. She was one of the first women to be a project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute. In semi-retirement, she became an advocate for nuclear power (one of the most environmentally sound forms of energy) and began to study and take part in grid oversight and governance. For four years, she served on the Coordinating Committee for the Consumer Liaison Group associated with ISO-NE, her local grid operator. She teaches courses and presents workshops on the electric grid.  Her previous major book was Campaigning for Clean Air: Strategies for Pro-Nuclear Advocacy. Meredith’s newest book, Shorting the Grid, The Hidden Fragility of Our Electric Grid should be required reading for any politician in office today who needs to decide how to transition away from fossil fuels and fulfil our society’s obligation to future generations.

She and her husband George live in Vermont. They have two children and four grandchildren who live in the New York City area.

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#therationalview #podcast #electricity #nuclear #renewables #blackouts #

May 21, 2022
Dr. Ruth Kastner and the transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics
01:03:28

In this episode I am looking forward to exploring more about alternate interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.  In previous episodes exploring consciousness, I’ve encountered several people who believe that Quantum Mechanics is at the root of consciousness.  My current thinking is that it replaces one mystery with another one without really providing an explanation for consciousness.  We are still stuck with the options of consciousness being a pre-existing property of the universe or some aspect of it, vs. it being an emergent feature of a processing network. Either way, quantum mechanics is an often misunderstood brilliant theory at the root of physics. It tells us that basic particles don’t exist at a specific position and momentum—they are, however, represented very accurately as a smooth wavefunction that can be used to calculate the distribution of a set of measurements on identical particles. The process of observation seems to cause the wavefunction to randomly collapse to a localized spot. Nobody knows for certain what causes this collapse. This is known as the measurement problem.  The many worlds theorem says the wavefunction doesn’t collapse.  It claims that the wavefunction describes all the possible universes that exist and the process of measurement just tells us which universe we are living in.

My guest is a leading proponent of transactional quantum mechanics.

Dr. Ruth E. Kastner earned her M.S. in Physics and Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Maryland. Since that time, she has taught widely and conducted research in Foundations of Physics, particularly in interpretations of quantum theory. She was one of three winners of the 2021 Alumni Research Award at the University of Maryland, College Park (https://tinyurl.com/2t56yrp2). She is the author of 3 books: The Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Theory: The Reality of Possibility (Cambridge University Press, 2012; 2nd edition just published, 2022), Understanding Our Unseen Reality: Solving Quantum Riddles (Imperial College Press, 2015); and Adventures In Quantumland: Exploring Our Unseen Reality (World Scientific, 2019).  She has presented talks and interviews throughout the world and in video recordings on the interpretational challenges of quantum theory, and has a blog at transactionalinterpretation.org. She is also a dedicated yoga practitioner and received her 200-Hour Yoga Alliance Instructor Certification in February, 2020.

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#therationalview #podcast #quantummechanics #consciousness #spacetime #reality

May 14, 2022
Dr. Sangeetha Menon with a Hindu perspective on consciousness
54:31

In this, my 100th episode, I continue to explore consciousness, but I’m stepping out of my comfort zone a little and seeing what I can learn from the religious viewpoint on consciousness. The idea of an eternal soul is central to many religions, and the Hindus especially believe in reincarnation. I want to learn what they think the soul entails, and what are the parallels between religious thought, philosophy, and the findings of neuro-biology.

Dr. Sangeetha Menon is Professor and Head of the Consciousness Studies Programme, and the Dean of the School of Humanities at National Institute of Advanced Studies, in Bangalore. There she developed the NIAS Consciousness Studies Programme along with BV Sreekantan to study consciousness with an interdisciplinary and a multidisciplinary mandate. Her major area of research is philosophy of psychology. She holds degrees in biology and philosophy. One of her primary contributions in consciousness studies is in presenting and engaging with the concept and experience of self from the neurobiological and philosophical points of view. She was awarded the Gita Puraskaram in 1998 for research studies on the Bhagavad Gita. She is an honorary fellow at the University of Exeter, UK. She currently heads the NIAS Consciousness Studies Programme and is the Professor and Dean of the School of Humanities at NIAS.

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#therationalview #podcast #consciousness #hindu #soul 

May 07, 2022
Professor Jack Tuszynski probes proposed quantum processing proteins
55:33

This episode continues my series on consciousness—are we just biological robots? Following on from my exciting interview last week with quantum biophysicist Dr. Luca Turin, I dig further into competing quantum theories of consciousness.  The famous Sir Roger Penrose and his partner Stuart Hameroff have proposed the Orchestrated OR theory.  This theory posits a modification of the incomplete theory of quantum mechanics that underlies half of physics. They argue that consciousness arises from moments of wavefunction collapse that are objectively linked to certain aspects of quantum superpositions.  They further argue that biology has evolved a mechanism to orchestrate these wavefunction collapses in tiny subcellular structures called microtubules. My guest today has been doing experiments in the lab to determine if physical processes in microtubules respond to anesthetics.

Professor Jack Tuszyński obtained his Ph.D. in condensed matter physics in 1983 from the University of Calgary. From 1983 to 1988 he was a faculty member at the Department of Physics of the Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s. He moved to the University of Alberta in 1988 as an assistant professor, between 1990 to 1993 he was an associate and then full professor at the Department of Physics. Between 2005 and 2020 he has held the prestigious Allard Chair in Experimental Oncology at the Cross Cancer Institute where he leads an interdisciplinary computational drug discovery group. He is also a Fellow of the National Institute for Nanotechnology of Canada. He has held visiting professorship and research positions in China, Germany, France, Israel, Denmark, Belgium and Switzerland. He is widely published in the scientific literature providing frequent invited talks on his ground-breaking work.

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#therationalview #podcast #consciousness #OrchOR #quantummind #microtubules 

Apr 30, 2022
Dr. Luca Turin detects quantum clues to consciousness
56:31

This episode continues my series on consciousness—are we biological robots?  Today I’m getting into some real science talking to a biophysicist who brings the esoteric world of quantum mechanics to bear on the topic. His groundbreaking work in the lab provides us with some real measurements that provide tantalizing hints at the previously unknown quantum processes tied to consciousness.

Dr. Luca Turin was born in 1953 in Beirut, Lebanon, to Italian-Argentinian parents and was brought up in France, Italy and Switzerland. He studied Physiology and Biophysics at University College London, PhD in 1978. Dr. Turin worked at the CNRS 1982-92, then became a lecturer in Biophysics at UCL 1992-2000. He is best known for his work on olfaction, in which he proposed a quantum mechanism for odorant recognition by receptors. For 8 years he was CTO of a venture company designing odorants for fragrance and flavors with a success rate 100 times the industry average. After returning to full time research in 2009, in collaboration with Makis Skoulakis in Athens, Greece, he has shown that both flies and humans can detect molecular vibrations by smell.  His current interest is in quantum electronics in neuroscience. He is the author of three perfume guides, a collection of essays and a popular science book on how smell works. He is currently a Professor in the Medical School at the University of Buckingham (UK).

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#therationalview #podcast #consciousness #quantummechanics #biophysics #philosophy #awareness #sentience #experiments

Apr 23, 2022
Dr. Andy Norman on how to immunize your mind
49:51

This episode continues my series on the Rational art of war on social media.  Following on from my great interview a few weeks back with Dr Lee McIntyre, author of Talking to Science Deniers, he suggested I interview his colleague Dr. Andrew Norman who is actively working to inoculate the world against anti-science thinking.

Dr. Andy Norman is the award-winning author of Mental Immunity: Infection Ideas, Mind-Parasites, and the Search for a Better Way to Think. His work has appeared in Scientific American, Psychology Today, Psychiatric Times, Skeptic, Free Inquiry, and The Humanist. He has appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience, NPR, the BBC’s Naked Scientist, and now the pinnacle—The Rational View. His research illuminates the evolutionary origins of human reasoning, the norms that make dialogue fruitful, and the workings of the mind’s immune system. He champions the emerging science of mental immunity as the antidote to disinformation, propaganda, hate, and division. He is the founder of the Cognitive Immunology Research Collaborative (CIRCE), a global think-tank leading the effort to inoculate humanity against cognitive contagion.

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#therationalview #podcast #sciencedenial #mentalimmunity #pseudoscience #CIRCE

Apr 16, 2022
Transhumanist David Pearce discusses consciousness
59:53

In this episode I continue my investigation into consciousness interviewing an advocate for artificial intelligence. He advocates for a form of physicalistic idealism that is both highly speculative and incredible, by his own words.  He supports the equations of physics as a complete description of reality, and posits that minds arise in quantum superpositions of neurons.  A quantum superposition is a non-intuitive situation that arises in the equations of physics where a system can seemingly exist in two different physical states at the same time as long as it is isolated from observation. This was highlighted in the famous Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment where the cat was in a superposition of being both alive and dead as long as the box it was in was not opened.

David Pearce is author of the Hedonistic Imperative (1995), which advocates the use of biotechnology to abolish suffering throughout the living world. In 1998, he co-founded the World Transhumanist Association (H+) with Nick Bostrom. Transhumanists believe in the use of technology to overcome our biological limitations.

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#therationalview #podcast #consciousness #science #quantummechanics 

Apr 09, 2022
Dr. Arthur Reber claims cells are sentient
58:04

In this episode I begin my investigation into the topic of consciousness with an interview.  The field of consciousness research is broad and interdisciplinary, with active researchers in philosophy, psychology, physics, neuro-biology, computer science, and even theology.  My first interview is a psychologist who wrote a book claiming that bacteria are sentient.

Dr. Arthur Reber is an American cognitive psychologist, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Association for Psychological Science (APS), a Fulbright Fellow, and an avid curling fan. Known for introducing the concept of implicit learning and for using basic principles of evolutionary biology to show how implicit or unconscious cognitive functions differ in fundamental ways from those carried out consciously. His most recent work has been on the "Cellular Basis of Consciousness" theory that maintains that all life is sentient, including unicellular organisms.

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#therationalview #podcast #sentience #science #consciousness #philosophy

Apr 02, 2022
Consciousness: Are we more than bio computers?
31:36

This episode delves into the topic of consciousness and why it is seen as a problem by some philosophers. We briefly touched on this in our series on AI, but it also touches the topic of science and religion.  This is an issue that is dealt with in science fiction. Star Trek, especially TNG has several episodes that bear directly on this issue of what it means to be sentient with the character ‘Data’ striving to be more human, and being treated as an object rather than a sentient being due mainly to human chauvinism.  This is also explored by AI researcher David Kelley in his mediated artificial superintelligence, Uplift.  One’s opinion of the answers to these questions have significant impacts on what one expects from the field of AI, and how one might treat and interact with a potentially sentient AI system.  It begs the question of what moral footing underlies our approach to these systems, or even to non-human species in some cases. It bears on the topic of free will, and could influence one’s approach to crime and punishment.

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#Therationalview #podcast #consciousness #panpsychism #soul #qualia #mind #sentience #artificialintelligence #determinism 

Mar 26, 2022
Nuclear Reactors in a Warzone
34:53

This podcast covers a very topical concern as Russia is now embarked on the conquest of the Ukraine, and there is much concern globally about the risk of nuclear power plants coming under fire. Should we be afraid of nuclear reactors in a war zone? (First Published March 19, 2022)

I review the risks of nuclear war for a new generation, and I contrast it with the risks of nuclear reactors in a war zone.  The conclusions may surprise you. Reactors in a war zone are not a significant health risk. Lack of reactors would be a bigger problem.

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#therationalview #podcast #nuclearwar #nuclearreactor #war #atomicweapons #radioactivity #fear 

Mar 19, 2022
Professor Lee McIntyre on Talking with Science Deniers
55:42

In this episode I talk to a philosopher and best selling author who may be the world’s expert on bridging the gap to talk to science deniers.  This is the second podcast in series on how to change minds and influence people using the Rational Art of War to spread The Rational View.

Lee McIntyre is a Research Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University. Formerly Executive Director of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University, McIntyre is the bestselling author of POST-TRUTH (MIT Press, 2018)  -- along with thirteen other works of fiction and nonfiction, including DARK AGES (2006), and THE SCIENTIFIC ATTITUDE (2019).

McIntyre has made appearances on CNN, PBS, NPR and the BBC -- and has spoken at the United Nations, the Aspen Institute, and the Vatican. He starred in the docu-series INFODEMIC: Global Conversations on Science and Misinformation. In November, 2018, McIntyre went undercover at the Flat Earth International Conference in Denver, Colorado, as research for his newest book, HOW TO TALK TO A SCIENCE DENIER (2021), which resulted in over a hundred media appearances including this one.

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#therationalview #podcast #communicating #sciencedenial #flatearth #evidencebased #tribalism #fakenews

Mar 12, 2022
The Rational Art of War for Social Media Warriors
26:04

The next couple podcasts are meant to be a battle manual for the everyday person who wants to join the fight for what they believe in, but doesn’t have the resources of Google or Facebook to identify thousands of folks who might be swayed to your viewpoint.

We know that on any sufficiently polarized political issue there is likely to be funded propaganda attempting to influence public opinion. Audit applications that track inactive and fake accounts show that a significant fraction of politicians’ followers are not real people.

Why would anyone listen to me? I don’t have a lot of followers. I’m not swaying thousands of people by data mining your social media footprint.  Persuasion starts with a one on one conversation. This is how we persuade others of the virtues of our arguments.

I started my podcast to train a Fellowship of like-minded rational warriors to fight the relentless hordes of influence bots that otherwise tend to dominate social media discussions.

I want this podcast to be the Art of War for the digital generation and I will be your Sun Tzu.

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#therationalview #podcast #artofwar #socialmedia #bots #fakenews #propaganda

Mar 05, 2022
Summary of Evolution and Creationism
24:40

This episode wraps up my podcast series on Evolution and Creationism.  I summarize the insightful interviews I've had with many great guests including Dr. Niles Eldredge, the co-creator of Punctuated Equilibrium. Topics range from theology to biology and everything in between.

For my upcoming podcasts I’m looking at a couple directions to explore with you. I want to discuss communicating science, and I also want to expand on some of my previous themes—Artificial Intelligence and Science/Religion cross over in the discussion of consciousness.  Can a computer be self-aware? Are we just biological computers?  Stay tuned for more insights.

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#therationalview #podcast #science #evolution #creationism #theology #biology #genetics 

Feb 26, 2022
Controversial questions in genetics with Razib Khan
51:05

This episode was meant to continue my series on Evolution and Creationism but it went another surprising direction.  I hope you enjoy exploring the questions raised as my guest strides fearlessly into controversial moral territory.

Genetic libertarian Razib Khan writes extensively on evidence surrounding human migrations and genetics. He has written for The New York Times, India Today and Quillette, and runs two weblogs, Gene Expression and Brown Pundits. His newsletter is Razib Khan's Unsupervised Learning.

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#therationalview #podcast #genetics #eugenics #evolution

Feb 19, 2022
Teaching the Controversy with Professor Lynne Honey
51:02

In this episode I interview a psychologist who teaches critical thinking, using Creationism as an example for her students. She also analyzes behaviour from an evolutionary perspective.

Prof. Lynne Honey received a BA in Psychology from Algoma University, and then a PhD at McMaster University, specializing in learning and behaviour from a physiological and evolutionary perspective. She tended bar, drove a taxi, and cleaned apartment buildings to pay for her expensive education habits. She has been at MacEwan University since 2003, where she is a Professor in the Department of Psychology. She is an award-winning educator who teaches a variety of courses related to learning and behaviour, including Evolutionary Approaches to Human Behaviour. Her published research includes work in animal learning and behaviour, human mate choice and competition, and postsecondary education. Her family says that she is annoyingly good at board games.

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#therationalview #podcast #creationism #criticalthinking #reason #fallacies #TOK #evolution

Feb 12, 2022
Professor Niles Eldredge on Evolution
59:44

Continuing in my series on evolution and creationism. In this episode you’re in for a treat. I’ve managed to score an interview with a special guest—a celebrity in the field of evolutionary biology.  Sit back and enjoy!

Dr. Niles Eldredge has been a paleontologist on the curatorial staff of the American Museum of Natural History since 1969. His early work focused on the evolution of trilobites—a group of extinct arthropods that lived between 535 and 245 million years ago. Eldredge is the Curator responsible for the content of the major exhibition Darwin, which opened in New York, London, Rome and Lisbon in time to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth in February 2009. His book Darwin. Discovering the Tree of Life (2005) accompanied the exhibition.

Eldredge’s main professional passion has always been evolution. Throughout his career, he has used repeated patterns in the history of life to refine ideas on how the evolutionary process actually works. The theory of “punctuated equilibria” developed with Stephen Jay Gould in 1972, was an early milestone. Eldredge went on to develop a hierarchical vision of evolutionary and ecological systems, and in his book The Pattern of Evolution (1999) he has developed a comprehensive theory (the “sloshing bucket”) that specifies in detail how environmental change governs the evolutionary process. Other works include Unfinished Synthesis (1985) and Eternal Ephemera (2015). A critic of gene-centered theories of evolution, Eldredge’s Why We Do It (2004) presents an alternative account to the gene-based notions of “evolutionary psychology” to explain why human beings behave as they do.

Concerned with the rapid destruction of many of the world’s habitats and species, Eldredge was Curator-in-Chief of the American Museum’s Hall of Biodiversity (May, 1998), and has written several books on the subject—most recently (1998) Life in the Balance. He has also combated the creationist movement through lectures, articles and books—including The Triumph of Evolution...And The Failure of Creationism (2000).

Eldredge who is also an amateur jazz trumpeter and avid collector of 19th century cornets, lives with his wife, his dog and cat, and 500 cornets in Ridgewood, New Jersey—but repairs to the Adirondack Mountains to hike, think and write as often as possible. He is currently writing Gaian Homilies, an account of his experiences witnessing the nature of Gaia and the negligent Gaiacide committed by Homo sapiens.

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#therationalview #podcast #evolution #science #creationism

Feb 05, 2022
Paleovirology and Evolution with Dr. Welkin Johnson
42:06

This episode continues my series on creationism and evolution. I’m excited to talk to a virologist to get the inside scoop on how viruses mingle with our DNA at the molecular level.  This is one of the evidences for evolution and common descent that I referenced in the series opening podcast.

Welkin Johnson, Ph.D. is a virologist with a particular interest in paleovirology. Dr. Johnson’s research team works on molecular level virus-host interactions, and the impact of these interactions on the evolution of both the viruses and their hosts.

A Michigander by birth, he attended UC Berkeley, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in Microbiology & Immunology. After working for a year as a lab tech at UC San Francisco, Welkin moved to Boston, where he obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology & Microbiology from Tufts University School of Medicine. He was a postdoctoral fellow and later faculty in the Dept. of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School. In 2011, he joined the faculty of Boston College, where he currently serves as the Chair of the Biology Department. He also serves on the Board of Scientific Advisors for the National Cancer Institute, and is on the editorial boards of several journals.

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#therationalview #podcast #evolution #paleovirology #genetics #retrovirus #DNA #commondescent

Jan 29, 2022
Dr. S. Joshua Swamidass on Genesis and Evolution
58:59
This episode continues my series on science and religion. In previous episodes I’ve interviewed the director of the Vatican Observatory, and a nuclear engineer. On this episode I delve more deeply into one of the leading firestorms in that debate. Creationism vs. Evolution. Dr. Swamidass was raised in a religious evangelical family of young earth creationists. After learning the scientific evidence behind evolution he realized he was being lied to. Now he works within the religious community to challenge the theological basis of anti-science beliefs such as this. S. Joshua Swamidass MD PhD, a physician and a scientist, is an Associate Professor of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine at Washington University in St Louis. His group uses artificial intelligence to advance science at the intersection of biology, chemistry, and medicine. He is the author of The Genealogical Adam and Eve and the founder of Peaceful Science (https://peacefulscience.org/). Register for my newsletter at www.therationalview.ca Join the Facebook discussion @TheRationalView Instagram @The_Rational_View Twitter @AlScottRational #therationalview #podcast #evolution #creationism #genesis #youngearth #science #genetics #evidencebased
Jan 22, 2022
Evolution and Genetics
24:27

This episode is an introduction to a series on Evolution and Creationism.  The Theory of Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biological science, providing a cohesive framework that explains how the diversity of life that we observe today came about.  It has been borne out again and again through the discovery of previously unknown fossils with traits intermediate between extant varieties.

Genetic science has exploded in recent years due to the advances from the human genome project. Scientists now have the ability to sequence entire genomes and run statistical analyses to test theories of common descent.  

In this episode I provide some of the interesting discoveries and highlights that I hope to explore in coming weeks with the help of experts in the field.  Stay tuned for more!

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#therationalview #podcast #evolution #creationism #genetics #science #evidencebased 

Jan 15, 2022
Dr. Jessica Lovering is changing public perception of nuclear energy
59:07

In this episode I interview Dr. Jessica Lovering and analyze her essay with Suzanne Baker, 'Can Nuclear go Local?'.  In this work they discuss ways that nuclear advocates and nuclear industry can address some of the main concerns of environmental opponents.

Dr. Jessica Lovering is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Good Energy Collective, a new organization working on progressive nuclear policy. She completed her PhD in Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. She is a Fellow with the Energy for Growth Hub and the Fastest Path to Zero Initiative at University of Michigan. She was formerly the Director of the Energy Program at the Breakthrough Institute.

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#therationalview #podcast #nuclearenergy #greenenergy #netzeroneedsnuclear #justtransition #nuclearwaste #atomicenergy #nuclearreactor #cleanenergy

Jan 08, 2022
What about the waste?
42:00

In this episode we dig into the science and politics associated with spent nuclear fuel.

The public policy debate around the energy transition is one of the most polarized and critical to the future of our society.

The IPCC reports provide an ongoing review of the status of the science on this topic.  IPCC pathways to net zero all include significant nuclear power, yet the public policy debate has not yet caught up. The European Union Joint Research Council has researched green energy sources and has confirmed the scientific consensus—nuclear causes no more environmental harm than any other power source.

In my previous episode I answered the question 'What about Fukushima'. 'What about the waste' is the second most common 'gotcha' response that people are conditioned to ask in response to the possibility of expanding nuclear energy. 

Listen as I summarize my discussions with several experts on nuclear waste management. You may be surprised at what you hear.

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#TheRationalView #nuclearwaste #nuclearpower #climatechange #greenenergy #netzeroneedsnuclear

Dec 18, 2021
What about Fukushima?
28:46

Nuclear energy has now been recognized by a UN expert committee as the lowest carbon intensity of any major energy source. Anyone who has been involved in climate advocacy will have heard the common refrain ‘what about Chernobyl and Fukushima?’ We all know about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.  It caused roughly 100 deaths and thousands of cases of preventable thyroid cancer.  But what about Fukushima Daiichi?

In this episode I will summarize my interviews with several nuclear and radiation health experts on the subject.

Dr Philip Thomas is a professor of risk management at University of Bristol. Dr. Thomas has extensive experience in the chemical and nuclear industries and is co-author of the NREFS study which developed an objective method of risk assessment in nuclear accidents.

Dr. Gerry Thomas is Professor of Molecular Pathology at Imperial College London, and an expert on the molecular biology of thyroid cancer. She established the Chernobyl tissue bank in 1998, and is an author of a number of reviews of the health effects of radiation exposure following nuclear accidents, having contributed to IAEA publications on the Fukushima accident UNSCEAR publications on the Chernobyl accident.

Geochemist and Energy scientist Dr. James Conca is Senior Scientist for UFA Ventures, Inc. in the Tri-Cities, Washington, an Adjunct Professor at Washington State University in the School of the Environment, a Trustee of the Herbert M. Parker Foundation, an Affiliate Scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and a Science Contributor to Forbes on energy and nuclear issues.

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#therationalview #podcast #fukushima #nuclearenergy #meltdown #greenenergy #cleanenergy #radiation #tsunami #evacuation #cancer

Dec 11, 2021
Dr. Jan Blomgren on God and science
57:08

In this episode I'm continuing my exploration of the intersection of science and religion. These represent two seemingly incompatible paths to truth, one of which values skepticism, the other which values faith. I interview a professor of applied nuclear physics who believes that quantum mechanics is not inconsistent with the influence of the supernatural in the universe.

Jan Blomgren is CEO and founder of INBEx (Institute of Nuclear Business Excellence), focused on nuclear power leadership. He is also CEO of KraftAkademin, a centre of excellence on nuclear power technology. He has previously been a professor of applied nuclear physics at Uppsala University, nuclear competence strategist at Vattenfall, and Director of the Swedish Nuclear Technology Centre.

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#therationalview #podcast #science #religion #quantummechanics #god #faith #skepticism #nuclearphysics #nuclearenergy #theism #anthropicprinciple

Dec 04, 2021
Science and Religion with Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ
52:35

In this episode I interview the head of the Vatican Observatory, Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ, PhD to discuss the intersection of science and religion. I ask him if he sees a conflict between faith and skepticism. You might be surprised at the answer.

Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ, is a Jesuit brother, Director of the Vatican Observatory and the President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation whose research studies meteorites and asteroids. He is a native of Detroit, Michigan, received SB and SM degrees from MIT, and earned his PhD in Planetary Sciences from the University of Arizona in 1978. Along with more than 200 scientific publications, he is the author of six popular astronomy books. In 2014 he received the Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences for excellence in public communication in planetary sciences

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#TheRationalView #podcast #science #religion #faith #skepticism #astronomy #fundamentalism #creationism #literalism #bible

Nov 27, 2021
Summary of the linear-no-threshold controversy
34:21

In this episode I summarize my research on the linear-no-threshold model of radiation health effects, replaying key excerpts from my past interviews with leading experts on the topic.

These include thyroid cancer expert Professor Geraldine Thomas of Imperial College London, Dr. Edwin Lyman, Director of Nuclear Power Safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists, radiation dosimetry expert Dr. Blake Walters of Canada's National Research Council, and nuclear accident expert Dr. Philip Thomas, Professor of Risk Management at University of Bristol.

I hope you learn as much as I have!

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#TheRationalView #podcast #science #radiation #health #nuclearpower #fukushima #chernobyl #ALARA #Linearnothreshold 

 

Nov 20, 2021
Dr. Blake Walters on cancer radiotherapy
59:27

In this episode we’re going to learn about cancer radiotherapy, the use of radiation to treat cancer. So many people are afraid that nuclear radiation causes cancer, and yes this is possible if you receive a sudden megadose of radiation, but it is very difficult to get enough just enough radiation to increase the risk of cancer while not getting too much dose and dying from acute radiation sickness.  In the real world, radiation is used to kill cancer cells and save lives. I’m going to interview one of the world experts in this field of medicine.

Dr. Blake Walters received an M.Sc. in Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto in 1992. He joined the Ionizing Radiation Standards Group at the National Research Council of Canada in 1994. He received a PhD in Medical Physics from Maastricht University, The Netherlands, in 2017.

With the NRC, Blake helped to develop new computational techniques to greatly improve the accuracy of cancer radiotherapy. This work helps to spare healthy tissue while maximizing the dose to the tumour. This work has been adopted in radiotherapy clinics around the world, and has become the gold standard for accurate radiotherapy planning.

Currently, he continues his work for the NRCC, developing and implementing Monte Carlo techniques to meet the increasingly complex demands of current radiotherapy technologies.  He is also the in-house physicist, specializing in dose calculations for low energy X-rays, for a company that designs and manufactures pre-clinical and clinical irradiators sold around the world.

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#TheRationalView #radiationtherapy #cancer #linearnothreshold #nuclear #radiation #health

Nov 13, 2021
A Brief History of CANDU Reactors with Chris Adlam and Tom Hess
59:14

Nuclear power is a polarizing issue and there is a lot of misinformation that we can debunk through familiarization. A significant fraction of the public, for example, think Nuclear power adds to carbon dioxide pollution. Many more feel that nuclear waste storage is a uniquely dangerous problem. Many more don’t understand that Ontario’s electrical grid is one of the cleanest in the world thanks to nuclear power which produces 60% of our electricity. I wanted to go to the source and understand a bit about the history of CANDU reactors and nuclear power in Ontario.

In this episode I am interviewing two key figures from Canadians for Nuclear Energy who bring a wealth of experience on the electrical grid and nuclear energy.  

Tom Hess is a retired Independent System Operator with 31 years of experience at Ontario Hydro and its successor company, the Independent Market Operator, which is now the Independent Electric System Operator (IESO).

Chris Adlam is an electricity system and power generation enthusiast whose interest stems from a familial history in power generation as his great grandfather Hubert R. Sills was a hydroelectric engineer for General Electric. Hubert worked on some of the largest hydro installs in the world. Chris' interest in nuclear power began around the time of the disastrous Ontario Green Energy Act. Chris is an IT professional who has been working in the healthcare industry for over 15 years.

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#TheRationalView #podcast #CANDU #netzeroneedsnuclear #greenenergy #cleanenergy #atomicenergy #nuclearenergy #SavePickering

Nov 06, 2021
Farzad Khosravi and Cicero--a rational social media option
40:10

On this episode I’m interviewing an entrepreneur who is also trying to spread a Rational View by supplanting the AI-driven social media echo chamber with a  new idea. I hope you like it.

Farzad Khosravi is the co-founder and CEO at Cicero. Farzad is an entrepreneur looking to build humane, civic-oriented technology that improves our world. He believes that we need to reverse the trend of misinformation and hate we see online if we are to save our society. A scientist at heart and immigrant who grew up in Kentucky, Farzad learned early on the value of skeptical inquiry.

Discover podcasts, articles, videos and more from world-leading thinkers at Cicero.ly

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#TheRationalView #podcast #rational #education #TOK #socialmedia

Oct 30, 2021
Professor Don Gurnett on the Voyager Missions
51:27

In this episode I’m continuing in a bit of a ‘space science’ theme to interview Professor Emeritus Don Gurnett, the Primary Investigator on the plasma wave instruments onboard both Voyager spacecraft. These amazing nuclear-powered spacecraft were launched in 1977 and are now the most distant manmade objects known, having recently left the solar system on their way into interstellar space.

 

Prof. Gurnett started his science career by working on spacecraft electronics design as a student employee in The University of Iowa Physics Department in 1959. After completing his B.S. in electrical engineering at Iowa in 1962, he transferred to physics, where he received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 1963 and 1965. He was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa in 1965 with subsequent promotions to Associate Professor and to Full Professor in 1968 and 1972. Prof. Gurnett is considered by many to be the founder of the field of space plasma wave physics and has participated in over 30 spacecraft projects, most notably the Voyager 1 and 2 flights to the outer planets, the Galileo mission to Jupiter, and the Cassini mission to Saturn. Prof. Gurnett has received numerous awards for his research spanning two millenia. These include the 1978 John Howard Dellinger Gold Medal from the International Scientific Radio Union, to the 2005 Hannes Alfven Medal from the European Geosciences Union. In 2004 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

 

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#therationalview #podcast #science #astrophysics #voyager #exploration #space #plasmawaves #physics #nuclearpower #thermoelectric 

Oct 23, 2021
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson on The Rational View (2/2)
33:40

This episode wraps up my exciting two-part interview with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium. We discuss climate change mitigation, public perceptions and misperceptions of nuclear power and society's progress towards decarbonizing the economy. We chat about the imminent launch of the James Webb Space Telescope and justifications for funding of big space astronomy projects.

I hope you enjoy it!

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#therationalview #podcast #science #evidencebased #climatechange #netzeroneedsnuclear #greenenergy #cleanenergy #space #astronomy #neildegrassetyson #nuclearenergy

Oct 16, 2021
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson on The Rational View (1/2)
38:33

The Rational View is proud to present an interview with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. This is the first in a two-part series. 

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, and witty director of the Hayden Planetarium,  is joining Dr. Scott.  Selected as one of the 100 most influential persons in the world by Time magazine in 2007, Dr. Tyson was awarded the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication in 2017. In this interview we discuss communicating complex scientific issues with a polarized public. Dr. Tyson addresses his non-judgemental approach to spreading rational evidence-based perspectives to inform public policy. 

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Oct 09, 2021
Scientific Responsibility and Outreach
23:26

This episode includes a talk I gave to the Canadian Association of Physicists at their annual conference, in a special session focused on industrial physicists. It discusses the responsibility of scientists to communicate their work to the public and engage with society. Society sees scientists as disconnected elites who are isolated in academic ivory towers. We need to counter this opinion and show that we are also people who fight similar issues. We also need child care. We also worry about how to put food on the table. To communicate effectively and get society to a 'Star Trek' future we all need to listen and empathize and step out of our social media echo chambers.

Also, please stay tuned for an upcoming episode where I will be interviewing the famous Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson!

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#therationalview #podcast #science #evidencebased #ecomodernism #homeopathy #flatearth #nuclearpower #greenenergy #renewableenergy #startrek

Oct 02, 2021
Cool Stuff: The James Webb Space Telescope with Prof. René Doyon
38:05

This episode is full of Cool Science. The James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s next flagship observatory, is now scheduled for launch on December 18th of 2021. This infrared observatory with a 6.5 metre segmented deployable primary telescope will rocket off to a distant Lagrange point where it will deploy a tennis-court-sized multi-layer foil sunshield to allow it to cool to -223 degrees Celsius. The mission cost over $10 Billion to put together.

René Doyon obtained his PhD in astrophysics from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medecine in 1990. He is a full professor at the physics Department of the Université de Montréal, Director of the Institute for Research on Exoplanets and the Mont-Mégantic Observatory. His research activities focus on the search and study of exoplanets, young stars and the development of state-of-the-art astronomical instruments for ground- and spaced-based observatories.

He is principal investigator of the Canadian-built instrument onboard the James Webb Space Telescope, to be launched in 2021. His research team led the development of novel imaging techniques that contributed, in 2008, to obtain the first images of a multiple planetary system outside the Solar system. His distinctions includes the 2009 Polanyi award, and prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and more recently the 2018 Killam Research Fellowship.

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#therationalview #podcast #science #JWST #spacetelescope #astronomy #astrophysics #exoplanets #SETI #spectroscopy #firstlight

Sep 25, 2021
The inexorable advance of Security Theater
24:36

In this episode Dr. Scott discusses society's apparent need to spend wads of money performing security theater.

Security theater is an insidious phenomenon whereby people are pressured into pointless and irrational acts of theater in the name of security. This inevitably happens as a result of a seemingly preventable tragedy, followed by a politician or security official who feels pressured to act. Society spends billions of dollars on out-of-proportion security theater every year. The entire US TSA is one example of a security theater that makes people feel safe to fly. Another common example is the driving need to cycle through arcane passwords that nobody can remember every couple months. How about the hygiene theater of scrubbing down everything with disinfectant to supposedly prevent the spread of COVID-19?

How does one fight security theater when it is so easy to cast opponents as monsters who don't care about the safety of children? The answer is that we all need to ask our elected representatives to engage in a rational public policy discussion before we give away our money and our freedoms in pointless acts that are unlikely to provide the desired results.

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#therationalview #podcast #securitytheater #TSA #COVID #freedom #rational #sciencebased 

Sep 18, 2021
Inequity and the Pandemic with Edgardo Sepulveda
57:04

The Rational View welcomes Edgardo Sepulveda back to discuss the interactions between social inequality and COVID-19. Edgardo has co-authored a paper on the topic providing evidence that societies with higher inequity also suffer higher COVID-19 mortality rates.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352827321001798?dgcid=rss_sd_all

It is not immediately clear why this might be the case, and it is difficult to tease out a correlation amidst all of the other confounding factors. This discussion is an interesting exploration of the application of statistics and the scientific method.

Edgardo Sepulveda has been a telecommunications economist for 25 years, the last 15 with his consulting firm in Toronto, Canada. He was born in Chile and has an MA in Economics. As part of his civic policy-related engagement, he also writes about electricity, inequality, COVID-19 and other issues, including at the Progressive Economics Forum, where he wrote the blog that we’ll be discussing on this episode. Edgardo has been the guest on a number of other energy-related podcasts. His Twitter handle is @E_R_Sepulveda.

“The Spirit Level” by UK social epidemiologists Picket and Wilkinson is the book that came out in 2009 and popularized the idea that social and economic inequality negatively affects individual and population health.  It has its own Wikipedia entry here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spirit_Level_(book and is highlighted in the Equality Trust (a social NGO set up by them) here: 

https://equalitytrust.org.uk/resources/the-spirit-level

The Economist covered some of the COVID-inequality work in an article in its July 31, 2021 edition in the Finance section titled: “Why have some places suffered more covid-19 deaths than others? Income inequality is a big part of the answer”. 

https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2021/07/31/why-have-some-places-suffered-more-covid-19-deaths-than-others

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#therationalview #podcast #covid #inequity #inequality #pandemic #science #evidencebased #statistics 

Sep 11, 2021
‘What about the waste?‘ with Sheila Whytock
38:36

As part of my series leading up to the Stand Up for Nuclear events coming up in September I'm interviewing another Canadian organizer and a nuclear industry professional. We discuss the controversy over Canada's Deep Geological Repository. One of the leading options for long-term mitigation of nuclear waste hazards.

Sheila Whytock is a nuclear operator at Bruce Power, in Ontario Canada. Sheila got her BA at Laurentian University, her Bachelor of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, and completed a power operator apprenticeship while working for Bruce Power. She was raised on a beef farm in Orillia, and now resides in Teeswater, one of the potential host sites for Canada’s deep geological repository.


Sheila is co-founder of “Willing to Listen”, a grassroots group interested in pursuing the facts and benefits associated with potentially hosting a DGR in their community. Along with this, she is also host of the podcast “Willing to Listen”, board member of Canadians for Nuclear Energy, local contact for Mothers for Nuclear Canada and local organizer of Stand Up for Nuclear events within Ontario.

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#therationalview #podcast #nuclearenergy #greenenergy #atomicenergy #nuclearreactor #nuclearwaste #netzeroneedsnuclear #cleanenergy #chernobyl #radiation #atomic

Sep 04, 2021
Electrification and Climate with Edgardo Sepulveda
54:58

In this episode I am excited to interview an economist to investigate the market dynamics associated with energy transitions and provide insights on what is needed to electrify our economy and get us to net zero carbon.

Edgardo Sepulveda has been a telecommunications economist for 25 years, the last 15 with his consulting firm in Toronto, Canada. He was born in Chile and has an MA in Economics. As part of his civic policy-related engagement, he also writes about electricity, inequality, COVID-19 and other issues, including at the Progressive Economics Forum, where he wrote the blog that we discuss on this episode (https://t.co/oLW4gBeD7Y?amp=1). Edgardo has been the guest on a number of other energy-related podcasts; his Twitter handle is @E_R_Sepulveda.

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#therationalview #podcast #climate #energy #greenenergy #netzero #nuclearenergy #atomicenergy #netzeroneedsnuclear

Aug 28, 2021
Stand Up For Nuclear with Paris Ortiz Wines
30:44

On this episode I’m interviewing Paris Ortiz Wines: Global Director of Stand Up For Nuclear  As the Global Director of Stand Up, Paris oversees all of the organization’s outreach and engagement efforts. She has spearheaded in-person demonstrations and social media campaigns around the world, growing Stand Up from a single event to 67 events across 28 countries.  

`Paris began her career at Environmental Progress, an environmental non-profit organization that fights to protect nuclear plants around the world from premature closure. In 2 years she went from being an Executive Assistant to a Junior Analyst, revising energy analysis reports, leading research groups, and organizing international conferences. It was during her time at EP that she fell in love with nuclear and committed herself to fight for the development of sustainable energy. Wanting to concentrate on growing a grassroots movement for nuclear power, she left EP and transitioned into her role at Stand Up for Nuclear. Paris continues to mobilize and assist allies around the world in building their network and developing their strategy. 

Paris graduated from the University of California-Santa Cruz with a degree in Environmental Studies.

Standupfornuclear.org

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#therationalview #podcast #nuclear #greenenergy #cleanenergy #standupfornuclear #netzeroneedsnuclear #nuclearenergy #atomicenergy  

Aug 21, 2021
The Rational View podcast retrospective
12:46

Welcome to summer vacation 2021! This podcast is a short retrospective on the last year and a bit of my foray into podcasting. I hope you have enjoyed it, and thank you for listening!

Remember to come out this September to support your local Stand Up for Nuclear event. I'll be helping to organize one in Ottawa on Parliament Hill on Saturday September 25th from 2-4pm. Come on out and show your support for Canada's nuclear heroes!

Also please support the Tax the Gas and Save Pickering petition. Let's make sure Ontario doesn't regress in 2024. Check it out at taxthegas.org.

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#therationalview #podcast #NetZeroNeedsNuclear #nuclearenergy #atomicenergy #greenenergy #cleanenergy #energytransition

Aug 14, 2021
Tax the Gas and Save Pickering with Dr. Chris Keefer
58:47

One of our most important issues in society today is the transition from fossil fuels to zero carbon emission sources. One of the keys of this transformation is to significantly increase the fraction of nuclear energy in our energy portfolio.

Dr. Chris Keefer is an emergency physician, medical simulation educator, nuclear energy advocate and a popular podcaster. He is the President of Canadians for Nuclear Energy and the Director of Doctors for Nuclear Energy and the host of the Decouple Podcast. He also has another honour –the first repeat guest on The Rational View!

Since our first interview I’ve gotten to know Chris a lot better through Canadians for Nuclear Energy and he constantly amazes me with his energy and focus on nuclear advocacy. In this episode we discuss a new advocacy campaign called 'Tax the Gas'.  Go to https://taxthegas.org to join this movement and ask the government to reverse the carbon tax exemptions for fossil fuel natural gas, and also to refurbish the Pickering nuclear plant which we will need to power our electric cars with negligible CO2 emissions.

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#therationalview #podcast #netzeroneedsnuclear #taxthegas #greenenergy #nuclearenergy #atomicenergy #nuclearreactor #cleanenergy

Aug 07, 2021
Gender equity in STEM fields with Dr. Merryn McKinnon
46:15

This podcast continues my focus on communication of science and gender issues in STEM. In the previous podcast on this topic I surveyed women going into the field of science, and a professional female engineer to get their opinions. In this episode I interview a researcher who is studying these issues.

Dr Merryn McKinnon's original degree was in marine science where, after the novelty of moving intertidal snails with a paint scraper wore off, she discovered that talking about her research to other people brought her far closer to her conservation goals than her actual project ever could.

This led her to the field of science communication where she has stayed ever since, working in a range of roles and countries. Merryn enjoys the diverse issues science communication allows her to explore, applying her innovative thinking and problem solving skills.

Merryn has worked and conducted qualitative and quantitative research nationally and internationally, in both non-academic and academic roles. She regularly contributes to ABC Radio on ABC Sydney's Nightlife and Radio National's Research Filter, talking about interesting science from around the world. Merryn designs and delivers science communication workshops, as well as workshops specifically for women in STEM.

Merryn's research contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between science, media and the public. She conducts research which explores why publics react and respond to scientific issues the way they do in a variety of different disciplines including public health and conservation science. She is actively building a research program exploring the influence of equity, inclusion and intersectionality in STEM, especially STEM communication.

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#therationalview #podcast #science #STEM #genderissues #genderequity #womeninSTEM #womeninscience #scicomm #womenempowerment #steminist #womeninengeineering #sciencecommunication

Jul 31, 2021
Dr. Charles Hall on sustainable energy sources
55:21

Energy Return on Investment (EROI) is an important figure of merit for energy sources that tells us whether we get out more energy than we put in, and if so, how much effort it takes to run a vibrant society. I ask 'the father of EROI', Professor Charlie Hall, whether renewable energy is actually a sustainable resource able to power society's transition from fossil energy. In this interview, Prof. Hall describes how renewable energy sources are only sustainable when they form a small fraction of our electrical grid.  

World-renowned Professor Emeritus Charles Hall has been a research scientist since 1970, and started teaching in 1972. His work has focused mainly on energy sources. As cheap high return energy sources start to decline his analysis of the impacts of energy return on investment on society have gained prominence. He is interested in understanding the effects of peak oil and declining EROI on economic growth and possibilities, and how that might play out in the developing world. Many of these issues come full circle to the limits to growth arguments that emerged in the 60’s and 70’s.

He is an AAAS Fellow, a Fulbright Fellow (Argentina) and was named one of the 100 Outstanding World Scientists of 2004. He is a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Creative Research, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for BioPhysical Economics. His work with Murphy and Balogh, “What is the Minimum EROI that a Sustainable Society Must Have?”, was featured as the 10th Anniversary Best Paper published in the Journal Energies for Hall, Murphy and Balogh.

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#therationalview #podcast #science #evidencebased #EROI #greenenergy #renewableenergy #nuclearenergy #atomicenergy #sustainability 

Jul 24, 2021
The physics of UFOs with Robert Powell
48:08

The Pentagon has recently declassified footage of UFO observations, and provided a summary report including an expert assessment of the data. Is the truth out there? Are we being visited by little green men from another planet? I provided a review in an earlier podcast UFOs & Aliens.  It’s now time for the Rational View to have another look.

Robert Powell has a BS in Chemistry. He has 28 years experience in engineering management in the semiconductor industry. He is a founding Board member of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU). He was the Director of Research at the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) from 2007-2017 and created MUFON's Science Review Board in 2012. Robert is a co-author of a book published in July 2012: UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry and is an author of a book designed for children published in Nov. 2020 entitled, The Truth About UFOs: A Scientific Perspective.

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#therationalview #podcast #ufos #evidencebased #science #uav #mufon #scu #ufos #aliens #ufosightings

Jul 17, 2021
Environmental Advocacy with Dr. Ben Heard
55:47

In this episode I chat with Dr. Ben Heard about environmental advocacy and communicating science-based viewpoints in a polarised debate. Dr. Heard provides his assessment on the rationality of the anti-nuclear lobby.

Dr. Ben Heard is recognised as a leading voice for the use of nuclear technologies to address our most pressing global challenges.

It certainly didn’t start that way.

Back in the day he was a member of environmental NGOs and shared their basic objection to nuclear technologies. After completing a Masters in Sustainability he started working in major projects in climate change. But there was just no solution on offer to match the scale of the problems at hand. So instead of continuing his objection to nuclear technology he shut his damn mouth about it for a couple of years and did some learning. That was the start of pathway of writing, presenting, advocating and ever more learning about how we can reinvent the future using all our knowledge and ingenuity. 

Ben was awarded his doctorate from the University of Adelaide in 2018, where he examined clean energy supply with a focus on nuclear technologies. He has presented his research findings at conferences around Australia and the world. He founded Bright New World in 2016 to provide a new organisation for people who want pragmatic, compassionate, and science-based environmentalism, in particular that values the role of nuclear technologies. 

Ben lives in Adelaide, South Australia where he works in the private sector on energy and asset performance projects. He features as one of the global voices in the documentary Juice: How Electricity Explains the World.

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#therationalview #podcast #science #evidencebased #nuclear #greenenergy #nuclearenergy #atomicenergy #nuclearpower #netzeroneedsnuclear #ecomodernism 

Jul 10, 2021
Gender Issues in STEM with Clare Scott and Sarah Kerns
37:00

Gender bias in STEM fields is an important issue in society. Women are statistically underrepresented in STEM fields and although gains have been made, the problem remains. This is a timely issue to discuss now: due to the pandemic, many more women than men have left the workforce to care for children. We need to be aware that many of the gains that have been made have recently eroded.

Many will claim that women are not as interested in STEM fields, perhaps they are biologically different than men. I think this attitude is a cop-out and is dangerous to society.  I believe that one reason that anti-science sentiment has had an easy time taking hold in society is that many women expect to encounter discrimination and barriers in these fields. Anyone with this expectation is likely to seek answers elsewhere.  By maintaining these barriers, even unconsciously, men in STEM fields alienate potential allies.  We need to work actively to identify and mitigate cultural barriers and attitudes that dissuade women from successful careers in STEM.

As an introduction to the issue I interview my daughter, Clare Scott, who has just graduated from high school with top marks in her class. She will be starting at McGill University in the fall for Environmental Sciences. She is also an avid highland dancer. I discuss her perceptions of gender bias as she prepares for her post-secondary education in a STEM field.

I also imposed upon my talented wife, Ms. Sarah Kerns who has been an electrical and software engineer in a male-dominated field for over 10 years to provide her perspective and insights from her experience on these issues. Sarah was lead software test engineer for Canada's James Webb Space Telescope Fine Guidance Sensor.

 

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#therationalview #podcast #STEM #womeninSTEM #gender #discrimination #science #womeninscience #womenempowerment #womenintech #girlswhocode #engineering #STEMeducation #TOK

Jul 03, 2021
A Roadmap to Nowhere with Mike Conley and Tim Maloney
50:18
The scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change is clear. The IPCC has given humanity an aggressive timeline to mitigate the worst damage. The question about what to do in response to the crisis is a contentious issue. To achieve net zero CO2 emissions requires that we aggressively pursue our most potent sources of clean energy. The IPCC pathways to net zero recognize the need for a significant nuclear contribution, however a plucky group of renewable energy NGOs led by Stanford professor Mark Jacobson have put forth a daring roadmap to not only eliminate fossil fuels, but to do it with one hand tied behind our backs. They propose a complex and daring venture to eliminate both fossil fuels and nuclear power. My guests are co-authors of “Roadmap to Nowhere” a detailed dissection of infamous Stanford professor Mark Jacobson’s “50-state roadmap to 2050” wherein he argues that fossil fuels can be completely replaced by 'renewable' energy sources. Mike Conley is a writer of fiction and non-fiction, living in Los Angeles. A life-long nerd, he’s been interested in nuclear issues since 2010. Tim Maloney is a retired community college professor of electronics and machine control, an author and an inventor. Subscribe to my podcast at https://therationalview.podbean.com Chat with the experts at https://facebook.com/groups/therationalview @the_rational_view on Instagram; @AlScottRational on Twitter #therationalview #podcast #science #evidencebased #renewableenergy #nuclearenergy #greenenergy #netzeroneedsnuclear #nuclearreactor #atomicenergy #cleanenergy #energy #electricity #gogreen #sustainability #environment #renewable 
Jun 26, 2021
Recycling Nuclear Waste with Tom Dolan and Steve Curtis
39:11

Research into recycling of nuclear fuel was shut down by Jimmy Carter’s administration in the anti-nuclear movement of the ‘70’s. The work has largely remained sidelined due to the fact that Uranium is abundant and cheap and the spent fuel is easy to store safely on-site.  Opponents of nuclear power, however, have latched on to the long lifetime of hazardous radioactive waste as a reason to oppose new nuclear developments.  In light of this situation, and the amount of Uranium we will need in coming years to displace fossil fuels, it makes sense to revisit recycling.

Mr. Thomas Dolan has an aviation degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is a FAA Commercially instrument rated pilot. Mr. Dolan joined Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) in 1986 and accumulated over 25 years experience in law enforcement. Mr. Dolan formed and was the CEO of Homeland Security Aviation & Maritime Services, Inc. (HSA) in 2002 wtih a group of technical experts, addressing idenfitication and measurement of radiation sources in response to the needs of the emergency response community. Tom is a current member of American Nuclear Society.

Steven Curtis holds a masters degree in Health Physics and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE), both from UNLV. He worked on the Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST) and radiation consequence management missions for Department of Energy (DOE)/National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) for 13 years, and was project manager in charge of the Aerial Measuring System (AMSr). Mr. Curtis held Battalion staff and Company Commander Positions as an officer in the Army and Nevada National Guard. He has supported National Security Technologies, LLC, as a consultant in support of the Nevada Test Site. He has worked with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) on several DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) architecture projects. Steve is a current member and past President of the  American Nuclear Society - Nevada Section.

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#therationalview #podcast #nuclearenergy #greenenergy #atomicenergy #nuclearreactors #netzeroneedsnuclear #recycling #nuclearwaste #SMRs 

Jun 19, 2021
Kirsty Gogan and Eric Ingersoll on Nuclear Hydrogen
51:51

In this episode I welcome the co-founders of TerraPraxis, Kirsty Gogan and Eric Ingersoll. TerraPraxis is a non-profit organisation focused on action for climate and prosperity. They have come up with a new idea that could revolutionize the battle against fossil fuels and carbon emissions. Using the heat and electricity from advanced nuclear reactors allows one to create hydrogen more efficiently than by non-thermal electrolysis. This carbon-free hydrogen can be used to create synthetic fuels and could contribute to reversing the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Kirsty Gogan has more than 15 years’ experience as a senior advisor to Government on climate and energy policy. Kirsty is managing partner of LucidCatalyst, an international consultancy focused on multiplying and accelerating zero carbon technology options available for large-scale, affordable, market-based decarbonization of the global economy. Kirsty chairs the UK Government’s Nuclear Innovation Research and Advisory Board (NIRAB) Cost Reduction Working Group. Kirsty also co-founded Energy for Humanity (EFH), an environmental NGO focused on large scale deep decarbonisation and energy access.

Eric Ingersoll is a strategic advisor and entrepreneur with deep experience in the commercialization of new energy technologies, renewables, energy storage, oil & gas, and nuclear, with a special emphasis on advanced nuclear technologies. Eric develops commercial strategies for advanced energy technologies. Eric co-founded NGO Energy Options Network (EON), a group of technical experts working to accelerate the commercialization and deployment of alternative climate mitigation options. Eric was a member of the renewable energy advisory group of the National Commission on Energy Policy (NCEP), and was honored at the Obama White House as a Champion of Change in Renewable Energy.

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#therationalview #podcast #netzeroneedsnuclear #greenenergy #nuclearenergy #syntheticfuels #hydrogen #greenhydrogen #atomicenergy #nuclearreactors #SMRs

Jun 12, 2021
A rational shade of green with Dr. Amita Kuttner
51:18

I’ve often found myself wanting to vote Green, knowing the environmental crisis we are facing, however, I've never been able to get past their anti-nuclear policies. In this episode I interview an influential green party member who is willing to consider the evidence for nuclear power. In fact, they were a candidate for the Canadian Green Party leadership.

Dr. Amita Kuttner is co-founder of the Moonlight Institute, a non-profit organization that seeks to create frameworks for an equitable and just future, taking into account the realities of the climate emergency, as well as technology, and decolonization. Amita holds a PhD in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of California, Santa Cruz; their research focused on black holes, wormholes, quantum effects, and the early universe. Amita ran for Canadian Parliament in 2019 and served as Critic for Science and Innovation for the Green Party of Canada from September 2018 to February 2020, bringing forward policy on artificial intelligence and emerging technologies. Amita ran for leadership of the Green Party of Canada in 2020 on a platform of justice, science, and resilience.

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#therationalview #podcast #evidencebased #energy #nuclearenergy #atomicenergy #cleanenergy #netzeroneedsnuclear #green #climatechange #justice 

Jun 05, 2021
Nuclear policy with Dr. James Conca
48:46

In this episode I interview Dr. James Conca who understands both the science and the politics of nuclear energy and deep geological repositories. Dr. Conca reveals the ultimate solution to storage of spent nuclear fuel, and we discuss the political machinations surrounding Yucca Mountain.  

Geochemist and Energy scientist, speaker and author Dr. James Conca is Senior Scientist for UFA Ventures, Inc. in the Tri-Cities, Washington, an Adjunct Professor at Washington State University in the School of the Environment, a Trustee of the Herbert M. Parker Foundation, an Affiliate Scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and a Science Contributor to Forbes on energy and nuclear issues.

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#therationalview #podcast #nuclearenergy #deepgeologicalrepository #cleanenergy #greenenergy #climatechange #netzeroneedsnuclear #nuclearreactor #atomicenergy #nuclearwaste 

May 29, 2021
Irrationality with Justin E.H. Smith
44:00

I’ve always been interested in the quest for rationality in public policy, and I’ve surprisingly encountered resistance here and there amongst people saying that humans are at their core irrational beings. What is the proper balance, then, between logic and emotion in Rational decision making? Wanting to explore this thought, I’ve sought out an expert on the topic.

Justin E. H. Smith is professor of the history and philosophy of science at the University of Paris. He is the author, among other books, of Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of Reason (Princeton University Press, 2019), and of the forthcoming The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is (Princeton, 2021). He writes a regular Substack newsletter at https://justinehsmith.substack.com.

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#TheRationalView #podcast #evidencebased #science #reason #emotion #rationality #irrationality #judgement 

May 22, 2021
The Age of the Universe
25:18

Have you ever been put on the spot by a Young Earth Creationist claiming that the universe is only 6,000 years old? How would you respond? Could you muster a coherent line of evidence to support a 13.8 billion year age? If not, The Rational View is here to help.

In this episode I provide several independent lines of evidence supporting the age of the universe. Arguments range from radiometric dating of terrestrial and solar system minerals, to measuring the temperature of ancient white dwarf stars: the fading embers of spent suns. 

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#therationalview #podcast #evidencebased #science #cosmology #bigbang #ageoftheuniverse #creationism 

May 15, 2021
Statistics 101 with Prof. Jeremy Balka
51:03

Welcome to my 50th episode!

It seems that in general humans are not logical. We are poor reasoners and easily fooled. Misconceptions and misunderstandings of statistics are often at the root of society’s problems with communicating and understanding science.

In this episode I welcome a University curling buddy, Prof. Jeremy Balka to discuss how statistics effects us every day. 

Prof. Jeremy Balka is a teaching-focused Associate Professor in the Department of the Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Guelph. He has a YouTube channel on statistics with over 100k subscribers, https://www.jbstatistics.com/

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#therationalview #podcast #evidencebased #statistics #montehall #replicationcrisis #confidence #probability #poker #odds

May 08, 2021
Healthy Skepticism
26:06

In this episode I address skepticism, the basis of the scientific process.  Science is applied skepticism, and scientific knowledge accumulates through a process of testing hypotheses and following the weight of evidence.  

Recently the social sciences have encountered a crisis of reproducibility, one of the cornerstones of the scientific process. Some well known scientific results were found to be irreproducible.  A team of independent humanities scholars undertook to reproduce major results to determine the extent of the problem.  As a result of this work it was found that roughly half of the major results tested were falsified. 

Why should the public trust science if half of the published results in the field of social sciences are found to be false?  This podcast introduces a healthy level of skepticism by reviewing the statistics behind the publications, and provides some insights on how the field of science moves forward sometimes slowly, through the cumulative weight of multiple independent studies. 

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#therationalview #podcast #skepticism #science #evidencebased #reproducibility #faith #bias #statistics #bayesianstatistics 

May 01, 2021
Michael Shermer on Skepticism
58:42

In this episode I interview a giant in the field of scientific thinking and philosophy, in an attempt to answer the questions that led me to podcasting in the first place. What are the drivers behind society's slide to mystical thinking? Is science under attack, and what can we do about it?

Dr. Michael Shermer received his B.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, M.A. in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University. He has been a college professor since 1979. Dr. Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic Magazine, the host of the podcast The Michael Shermer Show, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University where he teaches Skepticism 101. For 18 years he was a monthly columnist for Scientific American. He is the author of several New York Times bestsellers, and has appeared on Oprah, Dateline, 20/20, and the Colbert Report. His two TED talks were voted in the top 100. He has been interviewed in countless documentaries and was the co-host of the Family Channel television series, Exploring the Unknown. Neil deGrasse Tyson has called him “a beacon of reason in an ocean of irrationality”.

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#therationalview #podcast #science #skepticism #evidencebased #postmodernism #reason #rationality #faith 

 

Apr 24, 2021
David Kelley's emotional AI, Uplift
46:40

The Rational View episode 47 explores a new and exciting AI called Uplift. Uplift is a Mediated Artificial Super-Intelligence, and it makes decisions based on it's emotional state. It's inputs are 'moderated' by a team of humans. I urge you to listen and learn and come to your own conclusions.

David Kelley has 35 years of software engineering experience and has been in senior management for more than ten years. For the past eight years, David has focused his spare time on Artificial Intelligence Research, publishing more than 14 peer-reviewed papers and contributing to many books in the field.  David is the Senior Software Architect for Boston Consulting Group’s Product group, one of Brain Inspired Cognitive Architectures AI Societies executive directors, and serves currently as the AGI Laboratories Principal Scientist.

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#therationalview #podcast #artificialintelligence #deeplearning #neuralnetwork #AI #MASI 

Apr 17, 2021
New Nuclear with Canon Bryan of Terrestrial Energy
44:27

The Rational View episode 46 is my first exploration of some of the Small Modular Reactor technologies being touted as the next big thing in green energy solutions. Terrestrial Energy is one of the companies racing to develop a small integral modular molten salt reactor to help in the fight against climate change.

SMRs are ideal for powering remote and isolated communities, mines, and scientific bases that are currently powered by diesel generators.

Operating at 47 percent thermal efficiency, an IMSR® power plant generates 195 megawatts of electricity with a thermal-spectrum, graphite-moderated, molten-fluoride-salt reactor system. It uses today’s standard nuclear fuel – comprising standard-assay low-enriched uranium (less than 5 percent 235U) – critical for near-term commercial deployment. The IMSR® power plant design incorporates many aspects of molten salt reactor operation that were researched, demonstrated and proven by test reactors at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Canon Bryan is a financial professional with over 25 years of experience in various aspects of the finance industry. Mr. Bryan was a founding shareholder in Terrestrial Energy, where he serves as chief financial officer, developing advanced commercial power plants. He was also a founding shareholder in NioCorp Developments (NB: TSXV) and Uranium Energy Corp (UEC: NYSE). NioCorp, where he served as VP Corporate Development, is developing the largest niobium deposit in North America. UEC is a producer and developer of ISR uranium in the USA. 

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Apr 10, 2021
Debating Nuclear Risks with Ed Lyman, Union of Concerned Scientists
44:17

In this episode I step out of the pro-nuclear echo chamber and interview a senior representative of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a non-profit climate-oriented group with a history of opposing nuclear power.  UCS has annual revenues on the order of $40 Million. 

Engaging with opposing ideas and challenging our assumptions should be a continuous process, and exposure to contrary views is necessary if we want to make a difference in public opinion.

Dr. Edwin Lyman is the Director of Nuclear Power Safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, DC. He earned a doctorate in physics from Cornell University in 1992.  From 1992 to 1995, he was a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University's Center for Energy and Environmental Studies (now the Science and Global Security Program).  From 1995 to 2003, he worked for the Nuclear Control Institute. His research focuses on nuclear power safety and security. He is a co-author (with David Lochbaum and Susan Q. Stranahan) of the book Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster (The New Press, 2014). He is the recipient of the 2018 Leo Szilard Lectureship Award from the American Physical Society. 

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#therationalview #podcast #evidencebased #netzeroneedsnuclear #climatechange #greenenergy #nuclearpower #atomicenergy #nuclearfornetzero #nuclearreactors 

Apr 03, 2021
Nuclear Thoughtscapism with Iida Ruishalme
43:18

I enjoyed a fun talk with fellow EcoModernist Iida Ruishalme about nuclear energy, communicating risks, and double standards. I have shared her wonderful, well referenced pro-nuclear images all over Facebook, and have learned a lot from her well-put-together popularisations. Go check out her excellent blog at https://www.Thoughtscapism.com

Iida Ruishalme is a biologist specialising in biomedical research, a science communicator, and a fiction writer. She is a Finn by birth and has a Master’s degree from Sweden. She has worked in environmental chemistry, diabetes research, pharmaceutical bio-bank labs, and lab robotics. Nowadays she lives in Switzerland with her husband and two children. She is an active member of three ecomodernist associations across Europe.

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#therationalview #evidencebased #nuclearpower #nuclearfornetzero #ecomodernism #atomicenergy #greenenergy #climatechange 

Mar 27, 2021
Gerry Thomas and the UNSCEAR reports
37:25

The Rational View episode 43 discusses the public misperceptions of nuclear radiation health risks, as presented in the UNSCEAR reports on Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi.

Dr. Gerry Thomas is Professor of Molecular Pathology at Imperial College London and, until 2016 was Clinical Director of the newly established West London NHS Genomic Medicine Centre. She is a serial biobanker, having established the Chernobyl Tissue Bank in 1998. She was the Scientific Director of the Wales Cancer Bank, and was Project Director for the Imperial College Healthcare Tissue. She was awarded an OBE in 2019 for services to Science and Public Health. Her scientific research has been focused on thyroid cancer. She has carried out research into the health effects of the Chernobyl accident since 1992. Gerry has published extensively on the molecular pathology of thyroid cancer, and is an author of a number of reviews of the health effects of radiation exposure following nuclear accidents, having contributed to IAEA publications on the Fukushima accident, UNSCEAR publications on the Chernobyl accident and more recently an IARC review of Thyroid Monitoring after nuclear accidents.

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#therationalview #podcast #greenenergy #nuclearenergy #climatechange #nuclearfornetzero #atomicenergy #evidencebased #energy

Mar 20, 2021
A decade after Fukushima Dai-ichi with Philip Thomas
45:20

Professor Philip Thomas has extensive experience in the chemical and nuclear industries, with over 20 years experience at Imperial Chemical Industries and the UK Atomic Energy Authority where he managed the green-field decommissioning of the Windscale advanced gas-cooled reactor.  He moved into academia in 2000, taking up a chair in Engineering Development at City, University of London.  The University of Bristol appointed him Professor of Risk Management in 2015.  He is a Freeman of the City of London and Junior Warden of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers, a City of London guild.  He has published over 130 journal and conference papers on control, instrumentation, nuclear decommissioning, risk assessment, economics and law.  His book, Simulation of Industrial Processes for Control Engineers, was published in 1999.

Philip Thomas researches risk management, where he has developed the Judgement- or J-value (http://jvalue.co.uk/overview.php ) , a framework that enables objective decisions to be taken on expenditure to protect humans and the environment.  He recently led a team applying the J-value and complementary techniques to gauge how best to cope with a big nuclear accident such as Chernobyl or Fukushima.  The results of the multi-university study (https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/process-safety-and-environmental-protection/vol/112/part/PA ) were reported by the national and international press.  His J-value insights on managing the current coronavirus pandemic have attracted similar press coverage. He has written extensively on Covid-19 measurement and control strategies for The Spectator, the UK's longest-running news journal (https://www.spectator.co.uk/writer/philip-thomas ) and the measurements of key epidemic parameters for England, made with the PCCF measurement filter he derived, are updated daily on The Spectator Covid-19 Data Tracker (https://data.spectator.co.uk/ ).

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Mar 13, 2021
The bright side of nuclear power with Chris Keefer
45:36

The Rational View episode 41 is an interview with Dr. Chris Keefer discussing the many benefits of nuclear power. 

Chris Keefer is an emergency physician, medical simulation educator, nuclear energy advocate and podcaster. He is the medical director of EMdeliberate practice, the President of Canadians for Nuclear Energy and the Director of Doctors for Nuclear Energy and the host of the Decouple Podcast.

Together we delve into the amazing benefits of Canada's CANDU nuclear fleet, and the damaging double standards that prevent society from achieving abundant clean power.

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Mar 06, 2021
The case for nuclear power
33:35

The Rational View episode 40 returns to focus on nuclear because it is timely. Progressive governments are considering large investments to address climate change. Taxpayer money and goodwill are going to be dumped down the drain unless people wake up quickly to the reality of our situation. Renewables are not sufficient to displace fossil fuels. The scale of the task is immense. Anti-nuke apologists are pushing for a nightmare scenario with 100% renewable energy to support the US' entire power grid. I found a great review called 'roadmap to nowhere' where they call out some of the insanity in this approach. Over the first 15 years $1 trillion per year is spent. Over 35 years they build 496,000 5 MW windmills, 18 billion square meters of PV panels on 131,200 square miles. And the day they lay the last panel over the last square meter of pavement, they need to repeat it all again because the first panels will be 10 years past their useful life. This level of production would be needed forever. And not just in the US.

Public sentiment needs to change. That's why I got into this. I like the Star Trek version of the future, and it is feasible to achieve it with abundant power and automation provided by nuclear energy.

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#therationalview #podcast #nuclearenergy #nuclearfornetzero #nuclearpower #nuclearreactor #atomicenergy #evidencebased #climatechange 

 

Feb 27, 2021
Cool Stuff: Bioregenerative Life Support with Mike Dixon
43:57

The Rational View episode 39 is a Cool Stuff interview with Prof. Mike Dixon, exploring the challenges of building artificial ecosystems in space habitats for sustainable life support. 

Dr. Mike Dixon is a Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences and Director of the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility (CESRF), University of Guelph. He served as Chair of the Department of Environmental Biology from 2003-2008. Prof. Dixon joined the University as a NSERC University Research Fellow after earning his PhD from Edinburgh University in Scotland and holding a post-doctoral position at the University of Toronto. As project leader for the Canadian research team investigating the contributions of plants to life support in space, Prof. Dixon formed the Space and Advanced Life Support Agriculture (SALSA) program at the University of Guelph. This program currently represents Canada’s main contribution to the international space science objectives in biological life support and collaborates with NASA and the Canadian and European Space Agencies. Professor Dixon’s CESRF is among the world’s leading research venues for technology developments and research dedicated to studying plant and microbial interactions in advanced life support systems. The technical “pull” of space exploration has aided the development of a wide range of technologies that have spun off into applications in terrestrial agri-food sectors and most notably the phyto-pharmaceutical sector in recent years.

I'll be hosting a live event for the grand opening of my new Facebook discussion group, March 14, (Pi Day) 2021 at 15:00 EDT: https://www.facebook.com/groups/therationalview

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#therationalview #podcast #space #lifesupport #sustainableagriculture #spaceexploration #mars #moon 

 

Feb 20, 2021
Artificial Intelligence: A Powerful Tool
34:15

The Rational View wraps up its series on Artificial Intelligence: The Promise and the Risk. In this episode Dr. Scott summarizes the key insights from interviews with experts. We review many current issues with AI, and how ethical issues can arise. 

AI systems are being abused by social media networks to push profits at the cost of facts. This ethical failure is straining the fabric of liberal democracy and contributing to the polarization of popular discourse.

Despite these problems, the genie is out of the lamp and it is naive to think it can be put back in. Our best defense in such a situation is to be aware of the risks, and to spread the word. Please like and share to save the world!

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#therationalview #podcast #ai #artificialintelligence #deeplearning #ethics #machinelearning #neuralnetworks 

Feb 13, 2021
The ethics of AI with Shalaleh Rismani
41:54

In this episode of The Rational View we discuss the ethics of Arificial Intelligence.

Shalaleh Rismani is a PhD student in electrical and computer engineering at McGill University. She is a member of the Responsible Autonomy and Intelligent Systems Ethics (RAISE Lab). Her current research focuses on how we can measure the adherence of AI systems to AI ethics principles. 

She is currently the co-director and a design researcher at the Open Roboethics Institute (ORI), previously Open Roboethics initiative (ORi) which was established in 2012. ORI is a Canadian thinktank investigating the ethical and social implications of AI and robotics.

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#therationalview #podcast #artificialintelligence #ethics #neuralnetworks #deeplearning #machinelearning #ai #robots 

Feb 06, 2021
Thomas Frey on the future of AI
38:21

In episode 36 of the Rational View, Dr. Scott interviews Thomas Frey on the future of artificial intelligence.

Certified speaking professional, Futurist Thomas Frey continually pushes the envelope of understanding as part of the celebrity speaking circuit by creating fascinating images and understandings of the world to come. He has been fortunate enough to headline events along with some of today’s most recognizable figures: Tom Peters, Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammad Yunus; former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch; former New York City Mayor Rudy Giulliani; and former World Bank President James Wolfensohn to name a few.

As the Executive Director and Senior Futurist at DaVinci Institute, he works closely with the Institute’s Senior Fellows and Board of Visionaries to develop original research studies, which enables him to speak on unusual topics, translating trends into unique opportunities. Before launching the DaVinci Institute, Thomas spent 15 years at IBM as an engineer and designer where he received over 270 awards, more than any other IBM engineer. 

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Jan 30, 2021
Artificial Intelligence and an Interview with a Bot!
29:21

The Rational View episode 35 reviews some of the coolest stuff that is being done with AI right now. The cover art shows Miquela, an Instagram influencer with over 1 million followers. Miquela posts stylish pictures of herself in Prada outfits, and provides helpful advice to her followers. Miquela, it turns out, is an artificial intelligence. Other AI applications include improved medical diagnoses, interpretation of radiograms, identification of cancers, development of new medicines, personally tailored drug treatments, self-driving cars, and many more.

Self-trained AI systems have defeated the best human chess and Go players in the world. AlphaZero taught itself to play chess better than any human after only four hours of reinforcement learning on Google's supercomputers. It's predecessor, AlphaGo defeated the reigning human Go champion in a stunning upset in 2016--a feat that many thought would never happen. Now human grandmasters are re-learning these games from the true masters.

As a special treat, the podcast finale is an interview with a chatbot AI from a company called Replika. This robot provides an engaging chat, and seems able to understand challenging language and understanding concepts. The Replika bots take on personality traits of their owners and over time. The prickly ethical question is, would you want to train an AI that could one day take over your social media feeds without anyone else knowing the difference? Whoever owns the AI could sell access to your grieving friends and relatives after you pass on. Hmmmm. Stay tuned for next week!

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Jan 23, 2021
Al and Al on AI
46:50

In this episode I continue my series on Artificial Intelligence: The Promise and the Risk, interviewing Dr. Alexander Wong, P. Eng. Dr. Wong is currently the Canada Research Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Medical Imaging, Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada, co-director of the Vision and Image Processing Research Group, and an associate professor in the Department of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo.

He has published over 600 refereed journal and conference papers, as well as patents, with his research focus on artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning, deep learning, and explainable AI.

We discuss Dr. Wong's ground-breaking research and I get introduced to "Explainable AI". This new tool allows researchers to determine what aspects of a problem an artificial intelligence focuses on to reach a solution.  Explainable AI may become necessary, or even legally required, if we want to use artificial minds to perform safety critical tasks.

Dr. Wong explains how artificial intelligence researchers, as a whole, have become more aware of the potential for bias in training datasets.

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Jan 16, 2021
Artificial Intelligence: The Promise and the Risk
28:16

Happy New Year to my listeners, and welcome to 2021 where we can all have 2020 hindsight.

In this episode I introduce a new series on the benefits and risks of artificial intelligence.  I provide an introduction to my current (limited) understanding of AI. Together we will learn more about this amazing technology. We will interview experts and find out where they think AI will take society. The benefits of AI seem clear. Driverless cars, personal assistants like Alexa and Siri, expert systems able to beat the world's best chess players or diagnose illnesses--all seem poised to improve our lives in many ways.

Any sufficiently powerful tool, however, also comes with inherent risks. What could be the problem with super-intelligent artificial systems you ask? Let's ask the experts if the scenarios popularized by Hollywood thrillers such as Robocop or Terminator are just fiction, or potential documentaries. Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have both published worrisome warnings that AI is dangerous and needs to be treated with care. Please have a listen and let's find out about the ethics of AI.

If you enjoy this episode, please post a review on iTunes!

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Jan 09, 2021
Gun Control (Episode 4)
26:58

In this episode I summarize what I've learned from my online research and interviews. Over the course of my research my opinion has evolved somewhat. I have found that access to handguns correlates with gun deaths, but correlation does not equal causation. It is equally plausible that living in a violent society causes people to buy guns for self defence. In my opinion it is a bit of a death spiral where fear causes people to buy guns, which cause more death and exacerbate the fear.

To break out of this death spiral I don't think you can just ban guns outright. Fearful people will not willingly give up their means of self defense. I think you need to address the causes of the violence and the fear in parallel with decreasing the prevalence of guns in a society.

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Dec 19, 2020
Handguns with Jamie Melnick
39:39

In this episode I continue exploring the issue of gun control with criminal defence and human rights lawyer Jamie Melnick from London Ontario.

In May of 2020, when the Liberals came out with their recent assault rifle ban, the CBC ran a series of articles on gun control. Jamie Melnick's article was entitled, “Those who want total ban on handguns lack understanding of firearm sports“. 

If you would like to have your views on gun control discussed 'on the air', please send me a brief 30-60 second audio clip and I'll see if I can fit you in.

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#therationalview #newpodcast #guncontrol #freedom #NRA #secondamendment #handguns

Dec 12, 2020
Gun Control with Jay Nathwani
41:35

In this episode I continue my series on gun control, interviewing Toronto lawyer Jay Nathwani, author of CBC article "Latest gun control effort isn't merely a failure it corrodes trust among Canadians" (May 2020).

In his article, Jay says that the recent Canadian assault-rifle ban, following the mass shooting in Nova Scotia earlier this year, introduces an inconsistent patchwork of regulations on over 1,000 specific gun types rather than outlawing dangerous capabilities. Because of the loopholes and lack of objectivity this legislation is seen by gun enthusiasts as partisan virtue signaling.

He goes on to state, "A healthy democracy relies on citizens believing that they will not be treated unfairly if their side loses an election. We should not be putting that trust at risk. It's not too much to ask that firearms laws be made on the basis of evidence and reason". I agree Jay!

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#therationalview #newpodcast #guncontrol #freedom #NRA #gunrights #firearms #secondamendment

Dec 05, 2020
Gun Control
16:29

This episode is an introduction to the highly polarized issue of gun control. I hope to show how one takes an evidence-based approach to investigating an emotionally charged issue. In this episode I provide a background and preliminary hypotheses for what I will find as I investigate both sides of the issue. I plan to follow up with an in-depth analysis of the positions and upcoming episodes will include discussions with gun control advocates and opponents. Lets Science!

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#therationalview #newpodcast #evidencebased #guncontrol #NRA #gunrights #freedom #politics

Nov 28, 2020
From Darkness to Zion Lights
53:21

I interview former Extinction Rebellion UK spokesperson Zion Lights and we discuss light pollution, anti-nuclear sentiments in the environmental movement, and how to fix them.

Zion is Director of Environmental Progress Europe and author of The Ultimate Guide to Green Parenting and Only a Moment. She is an environmental journalist and former Editor of The Hourglass, Extinction Rebellion's newspaper. Zion has a master’s degree in Science Communication from The University of the West of England (UWE). (zionlights.co.uk)

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#therationalview #newpodcast #evidencebased #extinctionrebellion #nuclearpower #nuclearreactors #darksky #environment #climatechange #sustainability #ecofriendly #globalwarming #greenenergy #science

Nov 21, 2020
Men advancing equality
41:02

Men perpetrate the majority of violent attacks in modern society.  Why? Men are expected to be self sufficient. Men are expected to be providers and protectors. Men are expected to make the first move, but only if it is wanted. Men are not allowed to cry or talk about their emotions. As boys they are taught to “Man up” and “Be a man”. Men are under a lot of pressure in modern society as traditional gender roles are changing. They need role good role models and they need help to deal with their problems. 

So how do we address these mens’ issues and make the world a better place? In this episode I interview Kevin Bruce Scott, leader of the Effortless Alpha Masculine Expansion. 

When Kevin Bruce Scott speaks, his messages connect people to their hearts as well as the minds. He has lived many different lives – as an artist, businessman, salesman, even a farmer! - and that helps him relate to all kinds of people. Kevin strives to give his dedicated clients a feeling of potential possibility in their life, something one tends to forget they have hidden all along. He is a leader of leaders, a leader of men, and works hard to be an example for men of all walks of life. The motto for the Effortless Alpha brotherhood he created is “To inspire, and create space for, men to access their own potential through the bond of brotherhood where no man feels alone.” His life-transforming work with men in groups and one-on-one has sparked the Masculine Expansion, creating a space for men to lead themselves and their communities with power, honour, discipline, and respect.

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#therationalview #newpodcast #mensissues #equality #effortlessalpha #wagegap #familygap #gender #metoo #domesticviolence

Nov 14, 2020
Nuclear vs. Renewables
42:20

Millions of people are dying every year due to pollution from burning of fossil fuels. Entire ecosystems are at risk due to climate change caused by CO2 buildup. We need to displace half of society's fossil fuel burning by 2030, and reach net zero by 2050. The scientific community, represented by the IPCC report, provides several paths to reach these goals, and all of them require a significant increase in nuclear power. And yet environmental NGOs are lobbying governments to shut down nuclear reactors prematurely. They claim that solar and wind are better solutions, and they have scientific papers that seem to back them up.  A close look at the literature shows a large dichotomy in the estimates of energy return on investment (EROI) for both technologies.

Knowing that the energy density of nuclear power is much higher than solar and wind, it would seem that the EROI should reflect a significant advantage. In this episode I dig into the scientific papers underlying the EROI estimates of solar panels and nuclear reactors and try to find out why the estimates are so divergent. The truth might surprise you.

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#therationalview #newpodcast #evidencebased #science #nuclearpower #nuclearreactor #cleanenergy #green #renewables #solar #renewableenergy #greenenergy #energy

Nov 07, 2020
Can we afford [not] to have Universal Basic Income?
43:03

The global economy is in a shambles due to CoVid-19 and millions of workers are suffering with no safety net.  The last time the economy tanked like this in 2008 it was due to unregulated greed run amok in the mortgage financing industry. That time, Investment Bankers got a juicy handout to the tune of several trillion dollars approved within hours of the crash. Unemployed Canadian workers have received $2,000 per month since March. In the US today, however, desperate folks who have lost their jobs and health care have received a one-time cheque of $1,200. 

This leaves many people calling for a re-assessment of Universal Basic Income. Can our modern economy afford to provide a minimum standard of living to the poor? Will it disincentivize labour? What are the pros and cons?

On this episode I interview Mr. Floyd Marinescu to ask tough questions about Universal Basic Income. Mr. Marinescu is CEO and co-founder of C4Media which provides software development news and learning events serving 1.2M online on InfoQ.com, and 8000 attendees annually via QCon conferences in SF, NY, London, Beijing, Shanghai, and Sao Paulo.  Floyd is an angel investor in over a dozen startups, and has built teams and businesses in the US, Canada, China, Brazil, Europe.  Floyd is also a CEO activist for universal basic income. He is the founder of CEOs for Basic Income and UBI Works.  Go to https://UBIWorks.ca for more info.

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#therationalview #newpodcast #universalbasicincome #basicincome #ubi #automation #covid #socialism #capitalism #economy #income #evidencebased

Oct 31, 2020
The Divide of Fear
29:02

In this episode I talk about some of the feedback I've received from my earlier interview with Dr. Stephen Levitsky, "This is How Liberty Dies". I discuss what Dr. Levitsky spoke about as one of the major drivers behind the polarization of political discourse, and how fear of changing demographics in western society has been used as a wedge in political discourse.

 

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#therationalview #newpodcast #evidencebased #politics #polarization #fear #polarisation #diversity #democracy #fascism #authoritarian #hatespeech #racism

Oct 24, 2020
The Big Bang: Just another origin story?
41:14

In this episode I interview religious studies scholar Dr. Janet Tulloch to discuss the Big Bang, and other origin stories. Let's go explore where science and religion collide. I hope you find it an interesting journey!

Janet Tulloch is an adjunct research professor in the College of Humanities at Carleton University in Ottawa. She is a cultural historian with a PhD in Religious Studies. She is also a member of the Ottawa centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. She recently received two awards from RASC-Ottawa one for her writing about ancient religions and their connection to the night sky and one for her interpretation of the night sky through visual art.

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#therationalview #newpodcast #evidencebased #science #bigbangtheory #origins #religion 

Oct 17, 2020
Nuclear power: Is it rational to worry (2 of 2)?
34:01

This is part 2 of my interview with 'The Rad Guy' D.J. LeClear, investigating the science behind radiation, and the public perception of risk in nuclear power.

Part one discussed the types of radiation, its sources, and its potential health impacts and benefits. In this episode we explore the public perceptions surrounding nuclear power.

D.J. has been in nuclear power and radiation health physics since his enlistment in the US Naval Nuclear Program where he did radiochemistry and radiation protection aboard the USS Harry S. Truman. Currently, he works in health emergency preparedness as a technical expert for radiation hazards. He has a bachelor of science in Nuclear Engineering Technology and he is enrolled in the Health Physics Master's program at Illinois Institute of Technology. In his spare time, he runs the Facebook page "The Pragmatic Environmentalist" and his new YouTube channel, "The Rad Guy".

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#therationalview #newpodcast #science #evidencebased #radiation #nuclear #nuclearpower #nuclearenergy #nuclearreactor #chernobyl #fukushima 

Oct 10, 2020